Protecting God’s Children
What Happens When an Allegation Is Made
What happens when an allegation is made?
When we receive any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, we take it seriously.
If the allegation involves the sexual abuse of someone who is currently a minor – that is, someone under the age of 18 – we will report the allegation immediately to local civil authorities. The allegation will then be reported to the Victim Assistance Office of the local Archdiocese or Diocese.
If an adult is reporting an allegation of sexual abuse that occurred when he or she was a child, we still report the allegation to the local law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities as per our policies and procedures for the safety and protection of children and vulnerable adults.
All allegations are addressed with utmost urgency and significance – no matter when the alleged abuse took place or whether the accused is active, retired, deceased, or left the Order. When the allegation is received by this office, the Provincial Minister will initiate an investigation – conducted by third-party, independent investigators – into the allegation.
The accused friar is immediately removed from all ministries, and at no time during the active investigations of law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies – or the Province’s independent investigation – is the friar restored to ministry. In addition to notifying the Archdiocese/Diocese and the ministry site where the allegation is reported to have occurred, the Province notifies all parishes and ministries where the friar served during his ministerial life. The name of the person making the report is not included in these notifications. While investigations are proceeding, the Province makes therapy, counseling care and supportive services – provided by independent professionals – available to the person reporting the allegation.
Once the independent investigation is completed, the findings are submitted to the Province Review Board for their recommendation to the Provincial Minister. If the investigation determines the allegation is substantiated, the friar is permanently removed from all public ministry and ministerial environments, and placed on a closely supervised and monitored Safety Plan. If the allegation is not substantiated, the friar may be restored to public ministry.
A fuller description of the response to an allegation is included in the Policies and Procedures page of the Protecting God’s Children section of our website.