Safe Environment

Safe Environment

| by Province Staff

    Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers
    Safe Environment

    The Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers, is committed to the protection of children and young people, and is contracted with and certified by Praesidium, Inc., for mandatory safe environment training for all priests, brothers, and men in formation. We follow the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, sometimes referred to as the “Dallas Charter.”

    The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

    The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures originally established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. It was revised in 2005, 2011, and 2018. The Charter directs action in the following matters:
    • Creating a safe environment for children and young people;
    • Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors;
    • Making prompt and effective response to allegations;
    • Cooperating with civil authorities; and
    • Disciplining offenders

    How the United States Province Responds to Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors

    The United States Province responds to all allegations of sexual misconduct. To ensure that we handle each instance promptly, thoroughly, and compassionately, the Provincial Superior has appointed the Provincial Vicar as the Victim Assistance Coordinator of the Province. The Victim Assistance Coordinator will respond promptly and pastorally to listen, understand, and offer assistance (including appropriate psychological counseling), for those affected by a member’s misconduct. The United States Province, through the Victim Assistance Coordinator and independent investigators, will respond swiftly to evaluate and investigate any accusation of sexual misconduct by a member. If the conduct involves a minor, the United States Province will follow the guidelines spelled out in the “Protocol for Investigation: Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor,” including reporting it to local authorities.

    Protocol for Investigation

    The United States Province, consistent with the directives of the Catholic Bishop’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, has established the United States Province Review Board. This interdisciplinary board of lay professionals advises the Provincial Superior on all matters related to sexual abuse of minors.

    Any member who has engaged in the sexual abuse of a minor will be removed from public ministry. He will be provided appropriate psychological treatment and risk assessment specific for offenders and a rigorous relapse prevention program. Following risk assessment, the Provincial Superior, with the advice of his Provincial Council, the Review Board, canonical and legal counsel, and others as appropriate, will decide what further steps need to be taken with the member ranging from internal ministry and supervision for the rest of his life, to the seeking of dispensation or canonical dismissal.

    Links to Additional Statements and Information

    - June 12, 2019 Press Release
    - List of Those Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor
    - A Letter from Rev. William Lies, C.S.C.
    - Safe Environment Measures Summary

    Preventing Sexual Misconduct

    In addition to establishing procedures for responding to sexual misconduct, the United States Province has undertaken a series of measures to prevent incidents of abuse. These include extensive mandatory psychological evaluation of candidates before they enter formation and the provision of continuing education programs for members about issues of sexuality and personal conduct. The United States Province educates its members regarding the prevalence, identification, and prevention of sexual abuse of minors, giving special attention to topics that are of unique relevance to religious. 

    Members of Holy Cross must maintain appropriate boundaries with laypersons in order to preserve the integrity of the ministerial relationship. Moreover, we call upon those with knowledge of a member’s inappropriate behavior, whether past or present, to come forward with this information so innocent victims may be spared from further harm. We ask everyone to join with us to protect the safety of all women, men, and especially children, with firm determination to promote healing where there is pain.

    Where to Turn for Help

    Any victimization of a minor should be reported to law enforcement immediately. If you or someone you know has been sexually abused by a member of Holy Cross, please contact our victim assistance coordinator, Fr. Peter Jarret, CSC, at  or (574) 631-1126. The case will be handled with sensitivity and confidentiality.

    Prayer for Healing

    God of endless love,
    ever caring, ever strong,
    always present, always just:
    You gave your only Son
    to save us by the blood of his cross.

    Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace,
    join to your own suffering
    the pain of all who have been hurt
    in body, mind, and spirit
    by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

    Hear our cries as we agonize
    over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
    Breathe wisdom into our prayers,
    soothe restless hearts with hope,
    steady shaken spirits with faith:
    Show us the way to justice and wholeness,
    enlightened by truth and enfolded in your mercy.

    Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts,
    heal your people’s wounds
    and transform our brokenness.
    Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace,
    so that we may act with justice
    and find peace in you.
    We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

    (Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)