Diocesan Safety Policies
About Our Policies
-As of July 1, 2011-
As early as 1988, the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph had adopted a
policy for responding to allegations of sexual abuse. This policy required full
compliance with the laws of the State of Missouri for the reporting of child sexual
abuse and provided for lay involvement in responding to complaints. By 1993,
diocesan policies reflected growing lay involvement with the creation of an Independent Review Board.
In place for more than 20 years, these policies anticipated the requirements of the
national plan endorsed by the U.S. Bishops in June 2002.
Read the full text of the Policy for Addressing Sexual Abuse.
Our Policies Require
- Protecting children in all church and school settings
- Prompt removal from ministry of the credibly accused, pending an
- Counseling and pastoral support for persons making a complaint
- Advising people making complaints that they are free to go to police, civil
authorities or the media
- Ensuring that lay persons respond to and give advice for the disposition of
How does the process work in our diocese?
An Ombudsman meets with persons making a report, conducts an investigation, reports any criminal behavior to law enforcement, and prepares a report for the Independent Review Board.
An Independent Review Board ensures community involvement and makes a recommendation to the bishop.
The intent of this process is to provide an open, transparent and accountable response from the church. In no way will it interfere with prosecution of criminal or civil complaints, including immediate reporting to the Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division.
Members of the Independent Review Board
James Corwin, Chairman
Rev. Robert H. Stewart
Daniel J. Haus, Esquire
John A. Larsen, Ph.D
Joyce Estes, LCSW
Amber Heineman, Esquire
Suzanne Fitzmaurice, OSB
Msgr. Bradley Offutt, ex officio
Jenifer Valenti, ex officio
Carrie Cooper, ex officio
What is the Victims' Advocate?
The role of the Victims' Advocate is to minister to the person making the report,
his or her family and other persons affected. This may include making professional and other resources available to aid in the care of a victim.
Trish Peters is the Victims' Advocate and can be reached at (816) 714-2387.
What is the diocese doing to create safe environments for children?
In September 2002, the diocese began community education to teach the warning signs of abuse and to offer strategies for intervention. These workshops were open to the public and interested persons were encouraged to attend.
All priests, deacons, principals, teachers, coaches, youth ministers and volunteers
who interact with children are required to attend a Protecting God's Children
workshop. Staff members receive continuing education on a regular basis through
on-line communications. Participation in the continuing education component is
monitored by supervisors.
By January 2012, the diocese had trained more than 23,000 adults through the Protecting God's Children workshops. A national audit of diocesan policies and procedures commended the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph for reaching out to the community and encouraging participation in this adult learning program.
The diocese also requires multi-jurisdictional criminal and child abuse record background screenings for all clergy, seminarians, deacon candidates, and parish and school employees and volunteers in programs for children and youth.
In 2006, the Diocese implemented developmentally appropriate safety education programs for children and youth in parish programs and Catholic Schools to further protect children. Annually, more than 16,000 children are empowered by personal safety education and information in their schools and religious education programs.