Archdiocese Statement on D.C. Attorney General Investigation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, October 23, 2018

CONTACT:  Ed McFadden and Chieko Noguchi, 301-853 4516, [email protected]

Archdiocese Statement on D.C. Attorney General Investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last month, at the request of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, attorneys for the archdiocese took the initiative to brief the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Karl A. Racine, on the extensive efforts that the archdiocese takes to prevent and respond to allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Along with outside counsel, Kim Viti Fiorentino, Chancellor and General Counsel for the Archdiocese of Washington, met with the Attorney General and his staff and provided documentation of the archdiocese’s longstanding Child Protection Policy, including copies of the Annual Reports published by the archdiocese every year since 2003. A summary of these policies and procedures is attached to this release.

“We had a very productive exchange with the Attorney General and his staff. We explained that the problem of sexual abuse of minors in the archdiocese was an historical one – that to our knowledge there had not been an incident of abuse of a minor by an archdiocesan clergy member for almost 20 years,” said Fiorentino. “The Archdiocese of Washington remains committed to a collaborative and transparent review process because there is not now, and has not been for decades, any problem of abuse of minors by clergy of the Archdiocese of Washington. Zero tolerance has been mandated in this archdiocese and zero abuse is the result.”

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of Washington posted the 28 names of archdiocesan priests who were credibly accused of child sex abuse going back to the archdiocese’s founding in 1948 onward. It also announced that no archdiocesan priest in active ministry today who has ever been the subject of a credible allegation of abuse of a minor.

The Archdiocese of Washington was one of the first dioceses in the country to adopt a written child-protection policy, in 1986. Since 1992, the archdiocese has had a Child Protection Review Board consisting primarily of lay experts. Since 2002, the archdiocese has had a fully staffed Office of Child Protection and Safe Environment. It has spent on average $350,000 annually on child-protection efforts, which include training and mandatory background checks for all priests, employees and volunteers with substantial contact with children, and safe-environment training for all children in Catholic schools and religious education programs. The archdiocese also releases an annual, independently audited report on its child protection efforts, which is posted on its website and published in its Catholic Standard newspaper.

The archdiocese is committed to meeting the needs of survivors of abuse and reporting such allegations to authorities, and encourages anyone who may have been abused by a priest, employee or volunteer of the Archdiocese of Washington, or who is aware of any suspected abuse, to contact our Office of Child Protection and Safe Environment at: 301-853-5302.