The Recorder - My Turn: ‘Better days are ahead for the Diocese of Springfield’

I am the chair of the Bishop’s Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield. Last month, I wr...



I am the chair of the Bishop’s Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield. Last month, I wrote an op-ed explaining that the Task Force was conducting an online survey designed to elicit ideas from the faithful, both laity and clergy, to inform us in our work, and encouraging people to participate.

The response was very strong, and I wish to thank profusely those individuals who took the time to respond. I want to assure everyone who responded that all answers and comments, some of which were extremely thoughtful and insightful, have been read and studied. I know that they will be seriously considered and I expect that many of them will be incorporated into our final report.

There is one misconception that I want to clear up. Some people seem to think that the mission of the Task Force is to investigate claims of sexual misconduct within the Diocese. It is not. Our charge is to identify areas in which the Diocese’s response to those claims could be improved and to recommend significant and meaningful changes in Diocesan policies and procedures designed to promote healing and reconciliation. To that end, we are in the process of engaging the services of an outside professional organization that will organize focus groups in order to obtain the views and perspectives of survivors of clergy sexual abuse in a safe and trauma-informed way. We consider their opinions to be essential if we are to provide sensible and workable recommendations to the Bishop that are responsive to the needs of these most important stakeholders.

One theme that has come through loud and clear in the responses to our survey is the need for transparency. The survey has revealed that many people are angry because they feel that they have not been told the whole truth about incidents of sexual abuse. We are determined to devise recommendations intended to correct this perception and to see to it that in the future openness is the norm, not the exception.

Another theme that has emerged is that the Diocese should not endeavor to police its own and that law enforcement must be involved at the outset. We could not agree more. In fact, for the last six to seven months, the policy of the Diocese under the stellar leadership of Jeffrey Trant, the director of the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, has been to refer all complaints of sexual abuse to the appropriate District Attorney’s office immediately upon receipt of such complaints and to refrain from conducting any internal investigation until the police and prosecutors have completed their criminal investigation. We are absolutely committed to the continuation of this practice. If the Diocese becomes aware of any allegation of sexual abuse by a priest or other Diocesan employee, whether it occurred last week or 50 years ago, whether the accused is living or dead, whether the accusation appears credible or specious on its face, it will be immediately referred to law enforcement, without exception. For us, this is non-negotiable.

We are exploring other novel ideas intended to promote public confidence in the way in which the Diocese responds to complaints of sexual abuse. We are also trying to be sure that whatever process we recommend is scrupulously fair to any accused priest, because we believe that the vast majority of priests in the Diocese are dedicated, respected and law abiding individuals who deserve to have their due process and canonical rights protected. We are working hard to achieve a proper balance between the interests of the accusers and those of the accused, because we think that fundamental fairness requires such a balance.

There is much work yet to be done, and our final report might not be issued until early 2021. I write simply to assure the people who responded to our survey and other interested individuals that our work is continuing and that we are completely dedicated to our task. We are optimistic that better days are ahead for the Diocese of Springfield.

Judge Daniel Ford (retired) chairs the Indepdendent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse in the Diocese of Springfield.



Source link

COMMENTS

Name

Africa,729,Americas,3913,Art & Culture,14233,Arts,6335,Arts & Design,1526,Asia,3116,Automobile,416,Baseball,504,Basketball,402,Books,3727,Business,5169,Celebrity,2594,Cricket,607,Crime,123,Cryptocurrency,1391,Dance,588,Defense,798,Diplomatic Relations,2453,Economy,1011,Editorial,260,Education,1120,Elections,292,Energy & Environment,2990,Entertainment,22096,Environment,3471,Europe,4065,Faith & Religion,207,Family & Life,777,Fashion & Style,3088,Finance,18995,Food & Drink,3578,Football,1029,Games,75,Gossip,10247,Health & Fitness,3919,Health Care,873,Hockey,182,Home & Garden,882,Humour,952,Latin America,49,Lifestyle,16244,Media,492,Middle East,1400,Movies,1581,Music,2488,Opinion,2736,Other,11243,Other Sports,4870,Political News,11240,Political Protests,2282,Politics,17293,Real Estate,1689,Relationship,63,Retail,3071,Science,2475,Science & Tech,9495,Soccer,161,Space & Cosmos,278,Sports,11419,Technology,3271,Tennis,507,Theater,1563,Transportation,277,Travel,2440,TV,3531,US Sports,1436,Video News,3531,War & Conflict,1028,Weird News,955,World,15577,
ltr
item
Newsrust: The Recorder - My Turn: ‘Better days are ahead for the Diocese of Springfield’
The Recorder - My Turn: ‘Better days are ahead for the Diocese of Springfield’
http://www.recorder.com/getattachment/030f7f27-ea0c-42cd-beae-a2132959f24e/attachment.aspx
Newsrust
https://www.newsrust.com/2020/11/the-recorder-my-turn-better-days-are.html
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/2020/11/the-recorder-my-turn-better-days-are.html
true
732247599994189300
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content