What should I do if I suspect a child is being abused?
If you or someone you know has experienced an incident of sexual abuse by clergy, employee or volunteer of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, please contact law enforcement and the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The office maintains a special phone for these situations: 516-594-9063.
Mary F. McMahon
Director for the Office of Protection of Children & Young People
phone: (516) 678-5800, ext. 573
fax: (516) 887-1584
When there is sufficient evidence that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred
1. The Diocesan Bishop, in writing, shall remove the accused priest or deacon from his assignment and prohibit the public exercise of ministry, pending the outcome of the process.
2. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith shall be notified. All directions given by the Holy See for each case will be followed.
3. The alleged offender will again be encouraged to retain the assistance of civil and canonical counsel. When necessary, the Diocese will supply canonical counsel to a priest.
4. The allegation will be reviewed by the Review Board, which advises the Diocesan Bishop in all aspects of the case.
The Review Board, established by the Diocesan Bishop, will be composed of at least five persons of outstanding integrity and good judgment in full communion with the Church. The majority of the review board members will be laypersons who are not in the employ of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. At least one member shall be a priest who is an experienced and respected pastor of the Diocese. At least one member shall have particular expertise in the treatment of the sexual abuse of minors. The members will be appointed for a term of five years, which can be renewed (USCCB Norms).
5. After consultation with the Promoter of Justice, the Diocesan Bishop decides, in writing, to proceed administratively or to initiate an ecclesiastical trial. In either case, the norms of Church law are carefully followed.
6. No priest or deacon will be returned to pastoral ministry in the Diocese who has committed even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor or who evidences negative psychopathology that poses a danger to minors.
When an act of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon is admitted or is established by canonical process:
1. The offending priest or deacon will be removed permanently from ecclesiastical ministry. He will not be permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to administer the sacraments. He is prohibited from wearing clerical garb or presenting himself publicly as a priest.
2. No permission will be given for the offending priest or deacon to exercise ministry outside the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
3. The priest or deacon may at any time request a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state. In cases of serious scandal or harm, the Diocesan Bishop may request of the Holy Father the dismissal of the priest or deacon from the clerical state ex officio, even without the consent of the priest or deacon.
4. Should the case warrant it, the Diocesan Bishop may begin the process for dismissal from the clerical state.
Should an offending priest or deacon be sent to reside outside the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the Diocesan Bishop shall forward, in a confidential manner, to the ordinary of the proposed place of residence any and all information concerning any act of sexual abuse of a minor and any other information indicating that he has been or may be a danger to children or young people. - (Updated 10/2004)