Archdiocese of Washington Child Protection Efforts in Compliance for Third Year; New Child Protection Advisory Board Chair Named

March 30, 2006

For the third straight year, the Archdiocese of Washington was found in full compliance with national standards for child protection. In addition, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, this week named Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Dennis McHugh chairperson of the Archdiocese’s Child Protection Advisory Board. Judge McHugh replaces Shay Bilchik, president/CEO of the Child Welfare League of America.

The audit was part of an ongoing national assessment of diocesan compliance with the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. This Charter calls for promoting healing and reconciliation; guaranteeing an effective response to allegations of abuse of a minor; and protecting the faithful in the future through background checks and education.

A former FBI agent working for the Boston-based Gavin Group conducted the off-site audit, reviewing detailed information about Archdiocesan efforts for the time period October 4, 2004-September 15, 2005, and interviewing a range of people involved in child protection. The Gavin Group noted that the Archdiocese of Washington was “found to be in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” The national audit results, as well as other survey information, are posted online at

Judge McHugh already is a member of the Child Protection Advisory Board, a panel of child protection experts established in 2002 to develop policy and monitor child protection efforts. He has served on courts in Montgomery County for many years, including as judge-in-charge of the Circuit Court’s Juvenile Division. He will succeed Mr. Bilchik, who led the board in revising the Archdiocese’s child protection policy and establishing accountability measures. The Board is expected to release its annual compliance report and an updated policy within a few weeks.

“I am deeply grateful for the extraordinary work of Shay Bilchik,” said Cardinal McCarrick, “and of his commitment to helping ensure we are doing all we can to protect children. I cannot thank him enough for the wisdom and time he shared so willingly. We will miss his expertise greatly, but I am confident that Judge McHugh will ensure we continue to do all we can to fully implement our policy.”

The Archdiocese of Washington has had a comprehensive child protection policy for 20 years. The policy and other materials are available at Click on “Protecting Our Children.”

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]