Diocese of Rockville Centre
Communications Policy on Sexual Abuse
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Article 7, states that, “Dioceses/eparchies are to be open and transparent in communicating with the public about sexual abuse of minors by clergy within the confines of respect for the privacy and the reputation of the individuals involved. This is especially so with regard to informing parish and other church communities directly affected by the sexual abuse of a minor.”
The Diocese of Rockville Centre is committed to being in compliance with all of the Charter’s requirements. There the Diocese will communicate as openly as possible with members of the faith community, media and general public regarding allegations of sexual abuse of a child or minor.
Using the Diocesan website (www.drvc.org), The Long Island Catholic Magazine, LICatholic.org, Diocesan social media channels and Telecare, the diocesan Television station, the diocese will disseminate information to increase awareness and understanding of the sexual abuse issue. This will include, but is not limited to, information about the programs put in place for the prevention of sexual abuse of children and minors as well as information about sexual predators and, where appropriate, their victims.
This will also include publishing Diocesan policies regarding protection of children and minors.
Where appropriate, parish bulletins may also be employed in this effort.
Timeliness of Communications
Information will be disseminated to the parish and/or school affected, the media and the broader community in a timely, open manner. These communications will occur within the confines of respect for the privacy and reputation of victim and accused, as well as any applicable canon and civil laws.
Notification of Legal Authorities
All notifications regarding allegations of sexual abuse of a child or minor to civil authorities will follow the laws of New York State and Nassau and Suffolk Counties where applicable, while protecting to the extent possible, the identity of the alleged victim and the confidential nature of the investigation. Care will be taken to ensure that the rights of the alleged abuser are not violated. The Victims’ Assistance Coordinator will be notified of the allegation.
Responding to the Media
The Director of the Office of Communications/Public Information will be responsible for coordinating all media contacts. Those media inquiries made to schools, parishes, etc., should be referred to the Office of Communications and responded to only after consultation with that office. The director will consult with, guide or coordinate relevant persons in the handling of media inquiries.
Every effort will be made to respond openly without jeopardizing aspects of the legal investigation/litigation or breaching elements of confidentiality for either alleged victim or alleged abuser.
The Office of Communications/Public Information will promote Diocesan efforts to protect children and minors through the secular media, via press releases, interviews, press conferences, Q and As, etc.
Communicating with the Directly Affected Faith Community
Because supporting parishes and/or schools directly affected by sexual misconduct involving minors, Mary McMahon will coordinate with relevant Diocesan offices, as well as with parish leadership to ensure that parishioners and/or school families receive timely, relevant, factual and pastorally appropriate information from the diocese, school or parish as well as any therapeutic help deemed necessary.
Communicating with the Broader Community
The Diocese will communicate with priests in other parishes when an accused priest has previously served in those parishes. In addition, school principals and/or pastoral center staff may be informed in order to assist them in reaching out pastorally to all parishioners and school families in the Diocese.
Dated: April 2014