Sacred Scripture teaches that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God*, from which flows the dignity of the human person**. The Church safeguards and protects this God-given dignity and condemns all forms of abuse or neglect of people of all ages. The Diocesan Policy for the Protection of Minors deals specifically with the sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults by a priest, deacon, lay person, employee or commissioned volunteer as well as the Diocese’s obligation to protect children, young people, and vulnerable adults by providing a safe environment in order to prevent sexual abuse.
* (Gn 1:26) “Then God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…’ ”
** Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 225, 356, 1700 ff, 1934.
a) The Diocese requires mandatory participation in in-service programs for clergy, employees and commissioned volunteers on topics related to sexual abuse and healthy human relationships. This includes required participation in the VIRTUS® Program, entitled “Protecting God's Children for Adults.”
b) Appropriate methods of evaluation shall be conducted for all clergy, church personnel, employed and volunteer, who have regular contact with minors.
c) The Code of Pastoral Conduct will be furnished to those serving in ministry in the Diocese of Alexandria and will be available to members of the community upon request.
The diocesan Office of Safe Environment is a ministry which seeks to protect and preserve the sacred nature of the relationship between the Church and its people. This office supports the Bishop in his pastoral responsibilities for the protection of children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
The Office of Safe Environment is charged with developing and maintaining "safe environment" programs and outreach to communities effected. The program promotes healing and understanding. The Diocese is committed to cooperating with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, vulnerable adults, parents, ministers, educators, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children. The Diocese has also made clear to clergy,employees, volunteers, and all members of the community the standards of conduct for clergy,employees, volunteers, and other persons in positions of trust with regards to sexual abuse.
Promise to Protect
In response to the crisis of the sexual abuse of children by clergy or a representative of the Catholic Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) drafted a landmark document in Dallas, Texas, at its 2002 summer assembly. In this document, the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the Charter), the bishops re-commit themselves to victims/survivors and their families and to each other in order to ensure - to the best of their abilities - that sexual abuse of minors within the Church will never happen again. A comprehensive set of procedures to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy or a representative of the Catholic Church, the Charter includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse:
----Creation of a safe environment for children and young people
----Healing and reconciliation for victims and survivors
----Prompt and effective response to allegations of abuse
----Cooperation with civil authorities
----Disciplining of offenders
----Providing for future accountability by establishing a national Office of Child and Youth Protection (OCYP)
Pledge to Heal
For victims and survivors of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy or representatives of the Catholic Church, the USCCB-OCYP (www.usccp.org/ocyp) offers support and resources to begin the process of help and healing. The OCYP recommends several steps:
----Contact the appropriate law enforcement agency, which can help to determine options for making a criminal complaint
----Contact a local child protection agency, a private attorney, a support group, an abuse hotline, or a mental health professional.
*** The Diocese of Alexandria HOTLINE number is 318-445-1427. ***
----Contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Ms. Mary Girard, LMFT, at 318-623-3804, who is available to help victims/survivors to make a formal complaint of abuse to the diocese, to arrange a personal meeting with the bishop or his representative, and to obtain support for the needs of the individual and families.
"We can't give the victims of abuse back their innocence, but we can assure them that we will do all in our power to see to it that no child is so harmed again." -- Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President US Conference of Catholic Bishops
TO REPORT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE BY A CLERIC
or CHURCH WORKER OF THE DIOCESE OF ALEXANDRIA:
---> Call Ms. Mary Girard: (318) 623-3804 or the Diocesan HOTLINE: (318) 445-1427 and call your Local Law Enforcement Agency <---
Louisiana Child Abuse Hotline: 1-855-452-5437 (toll free)
** Prevent Child Abuse – Louisiana: www.pcal.org **
** U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops--Secretariat of Child & Youth Protection: www.usccb.org/scyp **
** VIRTUS: www.virtus.org **
** National Center for Missing/Exploited Children: www.missingkids.com **
Victims Assistance Coordinator
at 318-623-3804 or 318-445-1427
Pamela Aymond Delrie
Safe Environment Coordinator
318-445-6424 x 213
David V. Brook, CPA
Chief Financial Office/Director of Personnel
318-445-6424 x 215
Rev. Craig Scott
Vicar for Clergy
318-445-7120 ext. 12
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - Office of Youth and Child Protection: www.usccb.org/scyp
Louisiana Child Abuse HOTLINE: 1-855-452-5437 (toll-free)
Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana: www.pcal.org
Diocesan Permanent Review Board
Rev. James Nellikunnel
Rev. James Ferguson, J.C.L.
The Honorable Rae Swent (Ret.), Assessor