Report on the Archdiocese’s Compliance
of the Charter for the Protection of Children and
ALBUQUERQUE- Tuesday, January 7, 2004- IMMEDIATE RELEASE
My Dear People,
As we begin a new year, I want to bring you all up to date on
On December 20, 2003, Bishop Thomas Olmsted was installed as Bishop of Phoenix.
With his installation my duties and responsibilities as Apostolic Administrator ceased. It has
been a challenge keeping
two very busy Dioceses on course but with God’s grace all things are possible.
two auditors (retired FBI Agents) were assigned by the Gavin Group to perform an audit to see
if the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was in compliance with the Charter that had been approved
at the June 2002 Bishops’ meeting in Dallas (all Dioceses are being audited). After
spending the week in the Archdiocese reviewing files and records and meeting with clergy, laity
staff we were given two commendations, one for an excellent communications policy that reflects
a commitment to transparency and openness and a second for ongoing demonstrated commitment to
developing educational programs and workshops to ensure that acts of sexual misconduct will not
occur. Several recommendations were made which were immediately attended to and on July 22, 2003
we received a letter notifying us that the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was in complete compliance
with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth.
In addition to the audit, very extensive
research was completed on each perpetrator and victim from 1950 to 2002. This study was developed
by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New
York at the direction of the National Review Board. That was a monumental task. Our number of
perpetrators was high, due in part, to priests who had come to the Archdiocese for treatment
at Jemez Springs. While the Paraclete Fathers provided a needed ministry to men who had deviated
from their commitment, in all honesty little was known about pedophilia and how best to treat
it. On the advice of psychologists at Jemez Springs, men were often returned to ministry. Today,
we know that that should never have happened.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe took seriously guidelines
from the Bishops’ Conference in the
early 1990's. All priests and deacons with credible allegations of sexual misconduct have long
been removed from ministry. Thousands of priests, religious, laity, paid staff, volunteers, and
parents have participated in our Sexual Abuse Prevention Workshops. Safe Environment Programs
for Children and Youth are in place. Background checks of employees and volunteers are in compliance
with the Charter and our Permanent Review Board continues to be made up of qualified and capable
people. We have provided counseling to victims and as an Archdiocese we have twice participated
in the RENEW Program which focused on healing and reconciliation.
At the Bishops’ meeting
last November, it was reported that on January 6, 2004 the Audit Report and in February the John
Jay Report will be made public. The John Jay study gathered information
from all the U.S. Dioceses. The names of the Dioceses, perpetrator, and victims will be anonymous
in the report, however, the information may be startling to many. But keep in mind that no other
professional group, that is attorneys, doctors etc. have ever been so carefully scrutinized nor
has there ever been such a thorough study been conducted on priests in the United States, or
Here in the Archdiocese, over the past 50 years, a total of 44 priests and two
Deacons had credible allegations made against them prior to 2002. Twenty-three were priests of
the twenty-three, seventeen were ordained for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Six were ordained
for other dioceses, but later were incardinated into the Archdiocese of Santa Fe). Of the twenty-three,
nine are now deceased. Fourteen were priests from other Dioceses and 7 were Religious Order priests.
None of these priests or Deacons are in active ministry today. A total of $25,300,000 has been
paid in settlements as a result of sexual abuse of minors; $7,700,000 was paid directly by the
Archdiocese and $17,600,000 by our insurance carriers. An additional $4,700,000 has been paid
in attorney fees, and investigations costs. One hundred ninety three (193) individuals have received
counseling totaling $1,100,000. We used funds mostly from the sale of property and special grants,
not from ACA or parish assessments. These are staggering figures, but because everyone worked
together, we were able to do our part to resolve this terrible situation and avoid bankruptcy.
We have come a long way. Our evangelization efforts continue. Our
numbers of registered parishioners have grown over the last ten years, by thirty thousand families.
30 men to the priesthood and 21 are currently studying for the priesthood. Five new churches
built, and I’ve recently announced a proposed new Regional School in Santa Fe which hopefully
will be completed in the next three years.
Let us continue in our resolve. Even one case of abuse
of a child is a tragedy and this must not happen again. We are resolved to provide a place where
children will be safe. Let us also
take steps in our homes, in the workplace, everywhere to assure safety for all and an end to
Sincerely Yours in the Risen Lord,
Most Reverend Michael J. Sheehan
Archbishop of Santa Fe