Today was a great day. After an exchange of emails the Diocese of Cleveland updated their website. By moving a paragraph that was a bit hard to find in the FAQ section to the first page of Child Protection they are delivering a clear message to Call Law Enforcement First. The message was there but now the message is easy to find.
Today was a very good day for us. We received a letter from Cardinal OMalley of the Archdiocese of Boston. His letter is in the Letters from Bishops section. Boston is GREEN and an example of what a website should look like.
An email came in from the Diocese of Allentown requesting they get upgraded from Amber to Green. After reviewing the website and the supporting documents it was obvious that they too are a fine example of how to direct a response to Law Enforcement. We upgraded them to Green.
Yesterday Ed gave me a call with great news. He was looking at the Diocese of Sacramento and he saw that they had updated their website to include a very clear statement:
...If anyone has witnessed, or has reason to believe, or might suspect, there is or has been abuse involving clergy, employees or volunteers at any of our Catholic schools, parish religious education programs or other church-related events, those suspicions or allegations are to be reported first to civil authorities (law enforcement, child protective services, or adult protective services) and then to the Diocese via the toll-free line at 866-777-9133. You may also reach the Pastoral Care Coordinator at 916-733-0142. Reports can be made in English and Spanish.
This is wonderful and we will be sharing it with every other Diocese.
The website has been updated today to include a ranking of the Diocese in the United States. In the Diocese Rating tab you will find each Diocese rated as RED, AMBER, or GREEN. Green means that the web site encourages the first call be to LAW ENFORCEMENT. Amber means the policy is close but for a variety of reasons it is not clear that LAW ENFORCEMENT is the first call. Red means that there is no message to call LAW ENFORCEMENT. Our list has 190 Diocese. Of that, we classified 84 as Green, 21 as Amber, and 84 as Red. (with 1 website down). With only 44% of all Diocese in the Green we have more work to do in advance of the upcoming Bishops meeting with Pope Francis. Over then next couple of weeks we will reach out to the media and see that our message of CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT FIRST becomes the national standard.
We have mailed the sample letter to all of the US Bishops. A few have responded Over the next week we will be scoring each Diocese. This is based on our simple goal. If a Diocese already recommends that victims call Law Enforcement First they score a 3. If they have systems in place that ask that victims report to the diocese first and then the report will be passed on to Law Enforcement they will score a 2. If there is no policy in place that ends in contacting Law Enforcement the will score 1.