Frequently Asked Questions
How has the Church responded to the sexual abuse crisis?
What is the Office of Child and Youth Protection?
How do I report abuse?
What steps are in place to prevent abuse?
Who is on the Archdiocesan Review Board?
Why are the identities of the Review Board members confidential?
What is the protocol for seminary formation?
Who is involved in mandated reporting?
Has the archdiocese passed the audit every year?
Following the 2002 revelation of child sexual abuse in the Church, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops developed the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. It was revised in 2005, 2011 and 2018. You are invited and encouraged to read the Charter at the link below.
For more information on how the Church is doing implementing the Charter please review the Annual Report at the link below.
Per the Charter, the Office of Child and Youth Protection serves persons who bring forward allegations of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy or by lay employees and volunteers of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In addition, the Office of Child and Youth Protection oversees and ensures compliance with policies and procedures created to prevent child sexual abuse as well as receive and investigate reports of abuse.
To report current abuse of a minor by member of clergy, your first call is to the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (800.392.3738). After you have reported to the authorities, please call the Office of Child and Youth Protection (314.792.7704). To report past child sexual abuse of a current adult, please call the Office of Child and Youth Protection (314.792.7704).
The archdiocese’s Safe Environment Program, managed by the Office of Child and Youth Protection, requires all adult employees and volunteers who work with or near minors and/or vulnerable adults to comply with the following policy requirements:
In addition, the Safe Touch program is taught annually to students grades K-9 in archdiocesan schools and parish school of religion programs so that they are prepared to protect themselves from potential abuse.
The Board’s membership is composed primarily of laypersons who are not employed by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and who represent a variety of disciplines and occupations pertinent to issues surrounding the sexual abuse of minors, including mental health, medicine, education and law enforcement. The Board chair is held by a layperson who is not an employee of the archdiocese.
As a professional courtesy, the archdiocese does not disclose the identities of the Review Board members. Review Board members serve five-year terms.
Prior to admittance into Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, the seminarian undergoes a psychological evaluation, which includes an assessment of his mental and psychological health. The Seminary has two full-time lay psychologists to assist in human development, and each man meets regularly with an in-house spiritual director and formation advisor. Additionally, the faculty, administration, formation advisors and psychologists meet several times a year to discuss the progress of each seminarian in every dimension of his formation so that potential challenges can be identified and addressed. Additionally, if seminarians see or experience something that does not foster a healthy learning environment, they may report their concerns to any of these advisors with the confidence that appropriate action will be taken.
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Additionally, read the commentary from Kenrick-Glennon Seminary's president rector Fr. James Mason on seminary formation highlighting the "positive developments that have taken place in American seminaries over the past twenty-five years."
The Archdiocese of St. Louis believes that all adults have a moral obligation to report suspected abuse, regardless of mandated reporting laws.
Per the Mandated Reporter Statute (Section 210.115, RSMo.), certain people are required to immediately report to the Missouri Division of Social Services Children’s Division Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (1-800-392-3738) when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect, or when they observe a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which may result in abuse or neglect. These mandated reporters include:
- Physicians, medical residents/interns, nurses, other health care practitioners
- Psychologists and mental health professionals
- Social workers
- Daycare center or other child-care workers
- Teachers, principals, or other school officials
- Clergymen or priests (except for information learned in the Sacrament of Confession—please speak to your pastor for more guidance)
- Peace officers or law enforcement officials
- Other persons with the responsibility for the care of children
- Any other person may report suspected abuse if such person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect.
Please note that reporters are protected from any adverse actions or sanctions for making such report, and multiple mandated reporters with knowledge of abuse or neglect may call together to make a single report.
Yes, since auditing started in 2002, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has passed every year.
Promise to Protect Statements Resources FAQ Glossary of Terms
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