Safeguarding the Innocent
Scroll down to learn about what the Church is doing in response to the sexual abuse crisis:
USCCB Establishes Committee on Sexual Abuse
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) established a Bishop’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse and developed a document entitled “Restoring Trust”. The document evolved over the course of the 1990’s and were reissued to dioceses for their reference.
Policies and Procedures Concerning Sexual Misconduct
Archbishop Keleher approved the revised and restated Policies and Procedures Concerning Sexual Misconduct for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. All priests, seminarians, religious, Catholic School personnel, religious education teachers and volunteers, all youth ministers and volunteers were required to read and complete the document.
USCCB Committee Shifts Focus Sexual Abuse Education and Prevention
USCCB Bishop’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse shifted their focus to education, prevention and review of diocesan policies for child safe environments. (The “Restoring Trust” materials were incorporated and further developed into the document now known as the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.)
Crisis in the Church
The Church in the United States experienced a crisis without precedent in our times. The sexual abuse of children and young people by some members of the clergy and the ways in which these crimes and sins were addressed caused enormous pain, anger and confusion amoungst the church.
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) drafted and approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Charter is a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of further acts of abuse. The USCCB also approved the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons. The Charter and the Essential Norms have since been reviewed and updated a number of times by the USCCB.
Archdiocese Convenes a Leadership Committee
Archdiocese convenes a leadership committee to review and implement a program to Create a Safe Environment for Children throughout the Archdiocese. Members include the VG-Chancellor, Superintendent of Schools, Catholic Charities Director of Health Services, Archdiocesan Youth Consultant and the Director of Administrative Services and Human Resources.
Virtus® Protecting God’s Children
Archdiocese selects the Virtus® Protecting God’s Children as the training program for our Safe Environment Program. This program focuses on the education and training of adults on how best to protect children and increase awareness with five warning signs. Pastors and Principals are asked to identify a Local Virtus Coordinator in each parish/school to assist and coordinate implementation of the Safe Environment Program.
Victim Assistance Coordinator Appointed
A Victim Assistance Coordinator is appointed to assist victims and their families, to provide support, identify resources for victims and their families, and share the deep Christian concern of the Church. An Independent Review Board is convened to review allegations of abuse involving minors. This board is a confidential, independent, consultative body that reviews allegations of sexual abuse of children. The members are comprised of persons with expertise in the treatment of the sexual abuse of minors, not employed by the Archdiocese, a priest, those with law enforcement experience, a psychologist, counselors, and those with legal expertise. An independent investigator is retained as needed to investigate all reported allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
Charter Audit Process Established
USCCB implemented a Charter audit process to determine if the diocese is implementing the practices required by the Charter and an Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter is prepared.
Archdiocese Sets Forth Code of Ethical Standards
Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas updates/revises the Child Protection Policy: Policies and Procedures Concerning Sexual Misconduct and develops the Code of Ethical Standards (for all serving in positions of Church leadership or act as representatives of the Church). Promulgated by Archbishop Keleher and distributed throughout the Archdiocese in October 2003. From October 2003 until August 3, 2015 45,843 Child Protection Policies and 41,885 Code of Ethical Standards were distributed to individuals.
Individuals Trained to Present Virtus® Program
21 individuals are trained as Facilitators to present the Virtus® Protecting God’s Children for Adults. Other training sessions are held over time to train additional facilitators.
Virtus® Training Sessions Begin
Virtus® Protecting God’s Children for Adults Awareness Sessions begin to be scheduled in parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese.
ChoicePoint Selected for Background Checks
Archdiocese contracts with ChoicePoint to conduct background checks on clergy, school teachers, staff and volunteers. Implementation and training scheduled in 2004 for parishes/schools.
Virtus® Training and Background Checks Required
Communication sent to pastors regarding all current and prospective personnel including clergy, religious, seminarians, laity, employees, contract employees and volunteers who fall into the following categories will be required to undergo background checks: those who work with or around children; those who work with the very elderly and the physically or mentally infirm; those who counsel others, etc. Local Virtus Coordinators record completion of policies, as well as initiating background checks and recording completion on each individual’s Virtus account.
Virtus® Children’s Training Program Implemented
Archdiocese implements the Virtus® Children’s Training Program to provide prevention training to all children (grades K-12).
Child Protection Policy Updated by Archbishop Naumann
Child Protection Policy: Policies and Procedures Concerning Sexual Abuse of a Child and the Harassment Policy were updated and promulgated by Archbishop Joseph Naumann. Updated policy distributed to clergy, religious, teachers, staff, volunteers and parents, including all who attend a Virtus® Protecting God’s Children for Adults Awareness Session.
Zaeplex Selected for Background Checks
Archdiocese selects Zaeplex as the new background check provider, replacing ChoicePoint.
Continued Implementations of Programs and Processes
Continued training of adults and children through the Virtus® program, conducting background checks on all adults working with children, and annual successful completion of USCCB Charter Audits.
Healing Service held in Shawnee
Healing Service is held in Shawnee to pray for all who have been impacted by any abuse or harm by representatives of the Church or by others. Gather to pray for healing for all who have hurt in any way.
Healing Service held in Emporia
Healing Service is held in Emporia to pray for all who have been impacted by any abuse or harm by representatives of the Church or by others. Gather to pray for healing for all who have hurt in any way.
Healing Service held in Topeka
Healing Service is held in Topeka to pray for all who have been impacted by any abuse or harm by representatives of the Church or by others. Gather to pray for healing for all who have hurt in any way.
Online Implementation of Safe Environment Program
Archdiocese implements new process for online completion of Safe Environment Program policies (Child Protection Policy, Code of Ethical Standards, Harassment Policy also available in Spanish) and automatic submission of information for background checks. Local Virtus® Coordinators no longer need to manually record policies and background checks on each individual’s Virtus® account.
Day of Healing for Victims of Abuse and their Families
Day of Reflection: Healing from the Scandal of Abuse by Clergy, Religious and Others in Authority within the Church. Teresa Harnett, founder of Spirit Fire and The Healing Voices Magazine and author of Veronica’s Veil, was the speaker for this day of reflection, exploring ways to move forward and heal from the scandal of abuse by clergy or others in the Church. This event was offered for all survivors of abuse, their friends and family members.
USCCB Charter Updated
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) updated/revised the Charter document.
Archbishop Naumann Responds to Crisis
In a letter to the Archdiocese, Archbishop Naumann calls for a greater commitment to prayer, care of victims, accountability of bishops, transparency, conversion, and renewal.
Archbishop Hires a Law Firm to Investigate Allegations
Archbishop Naumann hires an independent law firm to review all historical allegations of sexual abuse for the Archdiocese of Kansas City.
Pope Francis Calls for Meeting of Bishops
Pope Francis is calling the presidents of every Catholic bishops’ conference in the world to Rome Feb. 21-24, 2019 to discuss the prevention of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.
The Archdiocese Launches Transparency & Accountability Website
Answering Archbishop Naumann's call in his August 31st letter in The Leaven addressing clergy sex abuse crisis, the Archdiocese launched this website dedicated to transparency, accountability, and renewal.