Archdiocese of Washington Statement Regarding Former Parish Youth Ministries Director at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Rockville
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Recently, the pastor of St. Elizabeth’s parish in Rockville received a complaint regarding a case of alleged child sex abuse by Mr. Brian P. Werth, the parish’s youth minister. The pastor immediately contacted the Archdiocese of Washington’s Child and Youth Protection Office, which reported the case to Montgomery County law enforcement.
Additionally, in compliance with the Archdiocese of Washington’s Child Protection Policy, Mr. Werth was immediately suspended from his duties at the parish and school; his employment has since been terminated. After an investigation, law enforcement authorities charged Mr. Werth and he was arrested this morning.
Meetings have been scheduled with parish and school staff, and letters are being sent to the parish and school families to brief them on this matter. All have been asked that if anyone has relevant information regarding this matter to please contact the Montgomery County Department of Police Special Victims Investigation Division at 240-773-5400.
The Archdiocese of Washington takes seriously its responsibility to the children entrusted to its care. The Child Protection Policy of the Archdiocese of Washington mandates criminal background checks, applications and education for all employees and volunteers who work with young people. Mr. Werth had cleared the background check and accompanying requirements. The policy also mandates immediate reporting of suspected abuse to the authorities and an employee’s/volunteer’s immediate removal from work or ministry following a credible allegation. This requirement was also met in Mr. Werth’s case.
If at any time you become aware of improper conduct by a person involved in archdiocesan ministry, please contact the director of the archdiocese’s Office of Child and Youth Protection, Courtney Chase, at 301-853-5302.
The archdiocese’s Child Protection Policy, which has been in place since 1986, is publicly available online at www.adw.org.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 94 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.