JOSEPHITE FATHERS IN CALIFORNIA, INC.
Part I. Policies for Maintaining Ethical Ministry with Minors
Section 1. Standards of Conduct for Ministry with Minors
The following standards are intended to assist Members in making decisions about interactions with minors in Church/School sponsored and affiliated programs. They are not designed or intended to address interactions within families.
A Member may be a professed religious of the Region, a novice or a scholastic.
A minor is anyone under the age of 18. For the purposes of this policy, the term "minors” also includes adults who would be considered uniquely vulnerable to abuse because of physical or mental disabilities.
Abuse and neglect of minors are contrary to the teachings of the Church, the Josephite Regional Statutes, and the Josephite Constitutions and are prohibited. Members have a responsibility to protect minors from all forms of abuse and neglect.
1. Prohibited Behaviors
2. Off-site events
3. Physical contact
c. Some forms of physical affection have been used by adults to initiate inappropriate contact with minors. In order to maintain the safest possible environment minors, the following are examples of affection are not to be used by Members in ministry roles with minors:
4. Training for Members who work with minors
5. Supervision of Programs that Involve Minors
6. Protocol for Members reporting disclosure of personal concern.
A member in final vows who feels he has a problem with boundaries is required to consult with the Regional Superior to discuss the problem.
Professional counseling and, if needed, a support program will be arranged for the Member. The Regional Council will be informed.
Section 2. Reporting Procedures for Reporting Abuse of Minors or Vulnerable Adults
1. Any Member shall report known or suspected current abuse of minors or vulnerable adults to civil authorities within 48 regardless of state mandatory reporting laws.
2. In addition to reporting to the civil authorities, Members shall report any suspected or known abuse of minors or vulnerable adults that may have been perpetrated by Members directly to the Regional Superior. Reports of suspected or known abuse may be made confidentially (unless otherwise required to be disclosed by canon law) to any following:
3. An anonymous, specific and verifiable letter of concern may be sent to any of the above. Anonymous concerns will be investigated to the extent that is feasible based on known information.
4. All new allegations of sexual abuse that have been committed by a Member or other agent of the Region shall be promptly reported to civil authorities in the jurisdiction in which the alleged occurred
5. If abuse of minor is confirmed through investigation, civil authorities shall be recontacted and a follow-up report will be submitted, if requested. If further investigation indicates the allegation is not credible, civil authorities will be contacted to provide the additional information
6. If the alleged victim is a minor at the time the allegations received, his or her identity will be provided to the civil authorities. If the alleged victim is an adult time the allegation is received and consents, his or her identity will be to civil authorities. If the alleged victim is an adult at the time the allegation is received and does not consent to having his or identity revealed, the alleged victim's identity will not be disclosed.
7. Files of allegations will be created at the time the allegation is received and will contain information about how the allegation was handled.
8. The Region will cooperate fully with investigations by civil authorities.
Section 3. Responding to Incidents and Allegations of Sexual Abuse
Allegations of sexual abuse may come from a variety of sources, including alleged victims or their family Members, diocesan offices, Members of the community, a colleague in workplace or from an alleged perpetrator. Because each case is distinct, the following is a general outline of the response system for allegations of abuse but is not a procedure that is to be followed in the same way for each unique case. The process is to be modified according to the nature of the allegation, the needs of the alleged victim and the circumstances of the accused Member. In every case, the Region commits itself to dealing pastorally with, and protecting the rights of all those involved.
A. Initial Response
1. The Regional Superior (or his delegate) shall receive allegations of sexual abuse and coordinate assistance to anyone who brings an allegation of abuse by a Member of the Region. Members of the region who are contacted about any allegation of a Member are required to report that information within 24 hours to the Regional Superior, or his Assistant if the Regional Superior is not immediately available to deal with the case. At no time should the person making the allegation be given any information on how the Region intends to respond, but that response will be made by the Regional Superior or his Assistant in as short amount of time as is possible.
2. When an allegation of abuse is first received, the Regional Superior shall attempt to gather sufficient information to complete a preliminary report The information would include the following:
3. Upon receipt of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, the Regional Superior will promptly follow Regional reporting procedures and report the allegation to civil authorities (see Reporting Procedures).
4. The Regional Superior and the Region will cooperate fully with any investigation by civil authorities.
5. The Regional Superior will offer to meet in person with the alleged victim if he or she so desires. The Regional Superior will maintain a compassionate and pastoral manner regardless of the demeanor of alleged victim, recognizing that the experience of abuse and difficulty of coming forward may bring out strong emotions during the disclosure process.
6. An Assistance Coordinator may be assigned to assist with the immediate and ongoing needs of individuals who have experienced abuse and their families.
7. The Regional Superior will notify the accused Member of the allegation and its substantial details. He will take steps to ensure that the accused Member receives the support and assistance he needs while the allegation is being investigated. This support may take the form of assigning a mentor for the accused.
8. The Regional Superior will inform the accused Member of his right to seek canonical and civil counsel before any further conversation into the matter. The Region recognizes that the Member may need assistance to engage such counsel.
B. Internal Investigation
1. During investigations by civil authorities or by the Region, the Member who is the subject of the investigation will be temporarily removed from ministry responsibilities and duties.
2. The Regional Superior will designate an Investigator to independently gather information regarding the allegations. In the cases of verified or undisputed allegations, an investigation will be conducted to identify any other potential victims and to obtain information to inform the on-going supervision plans for the Member who has abused.
3. In order to fulfil his responsibilities, the Regional Superior will consult with the Review Board at each juncture of the process and will request from the Chairperson of the Review Board that a meeting be convened by the Review Board within 48 hours of receiving the final report from the Investigator.
4. Should a Member be found guilty of sexual misconduct, the Region will provide for the pastoral care of the victim and the victim's family.
5. In the case of a Member found guilty of sexual misconduct, the Region will also provide for the pastoral care and treatment of the Member, offering him fraternal support in whatever penalties are imposed upon him by the legal system or restrictions imposed upon him by the Region.
6. Should an allegation be unsubstantiated, the Region will reinstate the accused Member to ministry and will work towards the restitution of his good name.
7. The Region’s investigations will be documented. Documentation of the Region’s investigations will be stored in the office of the Regional Superior. A summary of the investigation findings will be stored in the personnel file of the Member who is the subject of the investigation
8. Documentation of investigations are the property of the Region and shall remain with the office of the Regional Superior following election of a new Regional Superior.
9. The Regional Superior will usually assign an Investigator to review the allegations, question the parties involved, and act as the representative of the Region.
10. The Regional Superior will maintain contact with the accused Member throughout the entire process.
11. When he has received the completed investigation report, the Regional Superior will present the results of the investigation to the Member for response.
1. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the Regional Superior will exercise his judgment in delivering an appropriate response. If the accused Member has admitted to the substance of the allegation, or in those cases where the allegation continues to be deemed credible or has been substantiated, the Regional Superior's response could include any of the following:
2. In cases where the allegation has been deemed credible or has been substantiated, the Regional Superior will contact the appropriate diocesan offices to communicate the nature of the allegation and to inform the diocese of the procedure followed and the response of the Regional Superior to the allegation.
3. In cases where an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is substantiated, Member may not return to public ministry.
4. If an allegation is deemed to be without merit, the Regional Superior will coordinate communication with all appropriate parties so that reconciliation can take place where possible and repair of damage to reputations can be undertaken
5. In all instances, the final disposition of the matter rests with the Regional Superior, always recognizing
6. If at any time during the course of implementation these procedures, civil or criminal proceedings are initiated against accused Member, these procedures may be suspended immediately, to be resumed if deemed necessary, only after completion of the civil or criminal proceedings. In such a case, the Regional Superior’s delegate shall recommend to the Regional Superior a possible course of action with respect to the accused Member, in keeping with the intention of these procedures and in the interests of justice.
Section 4. Review Boards
A. Establishment and Purpose
1. The Regional Superior and the Regional Council of the Congregation (the “Region”) hereby agree to collaborate with other Religious Congregations from Region VI of the Conference of Major Superiors in the formation of a Regional Review Board (Board).
The group of congregations that make up the Board are: The Sacred Heart Fathers, the Divine Word, Augustinians, Claretians, Salesians, and Josephite Fathers of California.
The purpose of the Board is to provide advice to the Regional Superior on the implementation and administration of the Ethics in Ministry Policies of the Congregation. The Board exists solely to provide such advice and has no independent power or authority.
2. The Board shall consist of 5 to 7 Members, (from a pool of 15 approved Board members) including at least one Member of the Region and others individuals who are not Members.
3. The Board include representation from the following groups: religious (of the province or from outside the Region), professionals from the social sciences, (psychologists, counsellors, victims' advocates and/or social workers), representatives from the legal or law enforcement profession or state protective services, and laity, preferably parents.
4. While it may occasionally be acceptable for a Board Member to also be an employee of the Region, it is preferable for the Board Members not to be employees of the Region. At no time may the majority of Board Members be employed by the Region.
B. Appointment and Removal of Members
1. The Regional Superior shall nominate Members of his Congregation's pool of candidates to serve as a member of the Board by letter of appointment signed by the Regional Superior. A Member of the Board may be removed at the discretion of the Regional Superior in consultation with the chair of the Board. Members shall be removed by letter of removal signed by the Regional Superior.
2. Board Members shall serve a term of three years.
3. It is preferable for the Board to have no more than two new Board Members in one year. When possible, terms should be staggered to provide continuity for the Board.
4. Vacancies created by the departure of Board Members during their term shall be filled by appointment by the Regional Superior. Board Members appointed to fill a vacancy before the expiration of a term shall serve for the remainder of the unfinished term, and may then be reappointed to a full term at discretion of the Regional Superior.
1. The Board Members shall elect a Chairperson who shall serve for a term of one year and may be re-elected at the will of the Board. The Chairperson shall call and chair meetings of the Board, ensure that the work of the Board is properly documented and communicated to the Regional Superior and appoint other ad hoc officers and assistants from among the other Board Members as may be required to accomplish the work of the Advisory Committee.
2. At the beginning of each meeting of the Board, the Chairperson shall appoint a recording secretary to record the decisions and other relevant actions of the Board during that meeting.
D. Record Keeping
1. The files of the Review Board are the property of the Region. The Regional Superior and all current Board Members shall have access to the Board's files. The Board's files shall be stored at a place designated by the Reginal Superior.
2. The Board shall create a file on each case or matter it considers. Each file shall contain a written description of the matter presented to the Board, a written summary of the advice given by the Board, a written summary of the action ultimately taken by Regional Superior in light of the Board's advice, and such other information as the Board determines to be relevant to any future consideration of the case or matter by the Board or the Region.
1. Board Members shall sign a confidentiality agreement and undergo a criminal records check
2. The records and other information received by the Board shall be treated as confidential, subject to the requirements of law and the Policies of the Region.
3. The Board's advice to the Regional Superior regarding particular cases shall be confidential; provided, however, that the Regional Superior may, at his discretion, disclose the advice he received from the Board to his Council. The advice or positions taken by particular Board Members shall not be disclosed and need not be recorded in Board files.
4. The Region recognizes that the Board may receive confidential and sensitive information that could be used to injure the reputations of individuals. At the same time, the Region recognizes that the Board records may contain information relevant to civil and criminal law investigations.
5. It is the policy of the Region to cooperate fully with all legal requirements and law enforcement agencies while, at the same time, respecting any applicable civil and canon law rights of confidentiality and privacy.
6. The law of certain states and the United States prohibits the disclosure of certain information, such as mental health communications, substance abuse alcohol treatment records and HIV testing and AIDS treatment records. The Review Board shall protect the confidentiality of such information, which it may receive by way of appropriate releases of information, to the fullest extent of the law.
1. All allegations of child sexual abuse committed by a Member or other agent of the Region shall be promptly reported by the Chairperson of the Board or the Regional Superior to the appropriate civil authorities in the jurisdiction in which the alleged incidents occurred, (also see Reporting Policies).
2. Each Board Member is required to report any case of child sexual abuse by a Member in accord with the Region's Reporting Policies. Board Members need not report matters which have already been reported by the Chairperson or Regional Superior, provided that the report has been documented with a report number and is reviewed by the Board Member.
G. Operating Procedures
1. The Chairperson of the Board shall convene the Review Board at each step of the investigation and processing of an allegation of sexual misconduct in which the Board is to participate. He shall inform the respective Major Superior of the Congregation, whose member is under investigation, of the necessity to convene a meeting with two weeks’ notice being given to Major Superior. The process is outlined in the Policies for Responding to Incidents and Allegations of Sexual Misconduct. The Regional Superior or the Chairperson of the Board may choose to convene the Board at other times he or she deems advisable.
2. The Regional Superior may request a meeting of the Board by notifying the Chairperson. The Chairperson shall promptly contact the Members of the Board and schedule a meeting as soon as practical.
3. The Board may meet in person or by telephone or other electronic means. The Chairperson call the meeting to order and introduce the Regional Superior, his representative or Investigator to present the matter(s) brought before the Board.
4. The Regional Superior shall provide the Board with information relevant to the matter under consideration, subject to the requirements of civil or canon law which may prohibit disclosure of such information. Where possible, the Regional Superior shall obtain the necessary consents to release all such information. The Review Board shall maintain the information with great respect to its confidentiality.
5. The Regional Superior or representative may present information in any form, oral, written, graphic or recording for the Board's consideration. After the presentation, the Board Members may ask questions, request additional information, or discuss the matter with the Regional Superior or representative.
6. After the question-and-answer period or discussion is completed, the Members shall deliberate and formulate their advice outside the presence of an outside investigator. Deliberations may take place in the presence of the Regional Superior or his representative, at the discretion of the Board.
7. After the Board receives presentation and information from the Regional Superior or representative, the Board shall carefully consider and deliberate over the information.
8. The Board shall make recommendations on the matters and at the times provided for in the Policy for Responding to Incidents and Allegations of Sexual Abuse.
9. The recommendations of the Board shall be summarized in writing for presentation to the Regional Superior and a document shall be signed by the Chairperson on behalf of the full committee. The original written recommendation shall be presented to the Regional Superior and a copy shall be maintained in the files of the Board.
10. The Regional Superior shall share recommendations of the Board with the Regional Council as needed.
H. Conflicts of Interest
1. Any Board Member who is related by blood or marriage to, in any kind of employments, financial or business relationship with, in any kind of professional or spiritual counseling relationship with, or who would have any other conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest with the alleged victim or the accused Member, shall inform the Chairman of the conflict and recuse himself or herself from all deliberations concerning the particular matter in question.
2. Any Board Member who determines that he or she has a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest with the Congregation itself or with the work of the Board, shall inform the Regional Superior and the Chairperson of the conflict and shall resign from the Board.
I. Conditions of Membership
1. The Board Members may serve as volunteers.
2. The Region shall reimburse all Board Members reasonable expenses incurred in attending meetings of the Board or in otherwise performing their duties as Members of the Board. Receipts must be presented to Regional Superior on a monthly basis or as agreed between the Board Member and the Regional Superior.
3. The Region indemnifies and holds harmless all Board Members for any and all claims, lawsuits, damages or other actions, including but not limited to reasonable costs of defence, which may arise from their service on the Board. However, the Region does not indemnify Board Members for intentional tortuous or criminal acts.
Section 5. Supervision and Care of Members Who Have Abused Minors or Vulnerable Adults
These procedures describe the elements of a pastoral care framework which will be developed for each Member of the Region about whom a credible accusation of sexual abuse has been made. Most of these procedures address cases where the accusation is that of abuse of a minor or vulnerable person
The purpose of this framework is to:
It is intended that all of the elements below be adapted in a Safety Plan for each Member, depending on such factors as severity of the accusation(s), notoriety, age and health of the Member, and the recommendations of the Region's Regional Review Board. The framework, however, sets out elements to be developed in writing for each Member, reviewed by the Regional Review Board, and shared with the Member, his superiors, and, as appropriate, Members of his local Member community. The Safety Plan shall be signed by the Member and the Regional Superior.
A: Evaluation and Therapy
1. A Member about whom a credible accusation has been made may be asked to submit to a professional evaluation as to his psychological condition and proclivity to harmful behavior in the future.
2. The Member is free not to undergo an evaluation. If the Member agrees to an evaluation, Regional Superior or his delegate will arrange for the evaluation.
3. Subsequent to that evaluation, the Member may be asked to participate in such in-patient and/or out-patient treatment as recommended by the evaluating professionals, as well as such other physical, psychological, spiritual rehabilitation as may be recommended by such professionals or the Regional Review Board, as well as the terms of his Safety Plan.
4. The Member be required to report to the Regional Superior in writing periodically (e.g., monthly, quarterly or annually, as appropriate to the situation), describing his progress in terms of work, therapy, spiritual direction, community life, and such other matters as may be appropriate.
5. Information resulting from such evaluation, treatment and correspondence is the property of the Member. He may agree to make it available to the Regional Superior or he may decline to do so.
6. A Member may further agree to have the information available to the Regional Review Board
7. Any information about a Member who has been accused of abuse shall be kept confidential by those receiving it, except as required by law to be revealed.
B. PUBLIC MINISTRY AS A MEMBER
1. An ordained Member found to have abused of a minor or vulnerable person would not be allowed to function publicly as a priest or deacon, including public celebration of the sacraments, use of the title “Father” or “Reverend” in public communications, and the wearing of clerical attire.
2. In the case of a Brother, he would not be allowed to function publicly in external ministry associated with. a religious congregation (e.g., school teaching, coaching, parish staff work or use of the title “Brother” in public.
3. No clerical or distinctive religious attire would be allowed for a Priest or Brother who has abused a minor.
4. For a Member credibly charged with sexual abuse of an adult, the Regional Superior will consider the nature and circumstances of the allegation and the advice of the Review Board in determining removal from, suspension from, or restrictions on public ministry.
C. APPROPRIATE WORK
1. If physically and mentally able, the Member who has been removed from public ministry should engage in appropriate work in support of the ministries of the Region or in other service to people in need. Such employment might include the following:
2. Where appropriate, Members restricted or removed from public ministry may need vocational assessment and/or occupational counseling to assist in determining meaningful and useful work. The Regional Superior should consult with the Member involved to determine his interests and capacities and to promote his initiative in developing work opportunities, where appropriate.
3. In all cases, the service of prayer for the Order and the Church would be a valuable contribution to the Congregation.
D. PLACE OF RESIDENCE
1. Any restricted Member would be allowed to live only in a Member community or other appropriate supervised place of residence, as determined by the Regional Superior.
2. No separate apartment, private home or other domicile would be allowed as a permanent residence for the Member.
E. COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND COMMUNITY ROLES
1. The local community can and should play an important part in helping a Member who has been restricted and who wishes to continue his life as a Member.
2. After a Member has submitted to evaluation and appropriate treatment, Member communities should welcome the restricted Member as a brother.
3. It may also be appropriate for a mentor to be appointed for the Member who would assist and support him in his efforts to maintain his program of care and treatment
4. A restricted Member, within the community, as allowed by Canon Law, would be permitted to celebrate the Eucharist only with Members present, lead community prayer, hear confessions of Members only, and perform community jobs and other responsibilities.
5. A restricted Member would not be allowed to serve as Superior. A restricted Member must have the specific permission of the Regional Superior to serve as minister of the community or community consultant.
6. Upon the recommendation of the Regional superior, the local superior shall, as appropriate, inform all or part of the community in which such a Member shall live of the fact that a Member is so restricted and the appropriate specific terms of his Safety Plan, so that the community can assist him in achieving his goals.
7. Communities may need the advice and consultation of appropriate professionals to assist the community is readying itself to receive the restricted Member and to provide him the necessary care and support.
F. CONTACT WITH OTHERS
1. Under no circumstances would a Member credibly accused of abuse of a minor be allowed in contact with minors without the ongoing supervision of other adults present at the time.
2. This prohibition would include meals in restaurants, going to movies, riding in automobiles, or private conferences in parish or community offices, community parlors, bedrooms of Members, etc.
3. Similar prohibitions maybe applied to a Member credibly accused
G. TRAVEL, VACATION, RETREAT
1. For a Member credibly accused of abuse of a minor, vacations alone or with minors, even supervised, would not be permitted. Vacation should be restricted to Member communities or travel with other Members.
2. Retreats in locations alone would not be permitted, and retreats would be restricted to Member or other Catholic retreat facilities or Member communities.
3. Other travel may be restricted to that related to assigned work or family visits; if appropriate, a Member companion for travel also may be required.
4. Additional specific permissions for travel may be required from the Regional Superior.
5. Doubts about specific travel should be referred by the local superior to the Regional Superior. Again, similar prohibitions may be applied to a Member credibly accused of abuse of an adult.
1. Restrictions may be placed on driving alone or having use of a personal vehicle.
2. Some restricted Members may be required to request specific permissions for use of house cars from the local superior, to keep a driving log or to only drive with other Members.
I. PUBLICATIONS AND PUBLICITY
1. Restrictions on publications, letters to the editor, web-pages, radio and television appearances, and email may be appropriate.
2. Sensitivity for victims would dictate caution with regard to photographs of Members displayed in Member publications and institutions, especially those in services to minors.
3. In some cases a Member's use of mail and phone may need to be regulated.
J. INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS AND OTHERS
1. The Regional Superior, in consultation with the Regional Council and the Regional Review Board, will determine whether and/or how to inform the Region's Membership-in general terms - of those Members who have been restricted.
2. The Regional Superior, in consultation with the Regional and the Regional Review Board, will determine whether and/or how to inform others who may have a need to know, e.g. parishioners, parents, /faculty/staff of schools where we engaged in ministry, etc. - in general terms - of those Members who have had substantiated allegations made or who have been restricted.
PART II. POLICIES FOR MAINTAINING ETHICAL MINISTRY WITH ADULTS
A. Standards of Conduct for Ministry with Adults
A pastoral relationship is a relationship between a Member and any person to whom such Member provides pastoral care which includes counseling, spiritual direction or spiritual guidance and/or when a Member has received a confession or confidential or privileged information. The following are guidelines for maintaining integrity in pastoral relationships with adults.
1. Boundaries in Ministry
4. Conflicts of Interest
5. Responsibilities in Ministry
B. Reporting Misconduct with Adults
1. Members are responsible for ensuring the ethics of ministry in the region. Communication regarding misconduct by Members in ministry with adults is essential for the continuing the integrity of these ministries.
2. Members shall report misconduct with adults to the Regional Superior. Reports of suspected or known misconduct may be made confidentially (unless otherwise required to be disclosed by canon law) to any of the following:
3. An anonymous, specific and verifiable letter of concern may be sent to any of the above. Anonymous concerns will be investigated to the extent that is feasible based on known information.
(2005 Adaptation for Josephites in California from PRAESIDIUM, INC., 2003)