I write today as someone who himself realizes the shame that has come upon our Church due to the sexual abuse of minors. I write to ask forgiveness again for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.
More specifically, I write today because after hearing from many victim-survivors, many of you, and many priests, I have decided to publish a comprehensive list of all archdiocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors or who were the subject of a claim made to the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program that was determined to be eligible for compensation.
. . . The archdiocese has taken numerous steps to strengthen and enhance its procedures to ensure that our children are protected and to comply with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002. For those who are not familiar with those procedures, here are the key points. Whenever the archdiocese is notified of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, the archdiocese reports that allegation to the appropriate district attorney. Even where law enforcement cannot act upon an allegation, the archdiocese removes the accused priest from ministry while the allegation is investigated by outside professionals, all of whom are former federal agents, and refers the allegation to our Review Board to determine whether or not it has been substantiated. If it finds an allegation to be substantiated, the priest is permanently removed from ministry. The names of clergy have also been published in our archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New York, and among the parishes where the accused was assigned. We have initiated the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, as a way to bring healing and justice to those who were abused by archdiocesan clergy.
These measures have been effective, both to respond to victim-survivors with compassion and to prevent, as much as possible, incidents of abuse from occurring in the future. Still, we must continue to be vigilant to make certain that the failings of the past are not repeated. I pledge again today that I will do all in my power to ensure the safety of our young people, and to react with sympathy, understanding, and respect towards those who come forward with an allegation of abuse.