The Review Board for the Diocese of Owensboro has been in existence since 1995. Its purpose was and is to assist the Bishop of the Diocese in reviewing and handling cases of alleged sexual abuse against persons acting in the name of the Church.
The Review Board has its own detailed guidelines to govern its formation, its duties, and the procedures to be followed in carrying out its role as a consultative body to the Bishop.
The Bishop seeks counsel from the Diocesan Review Board on all issues and situations concerning sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons. The Bishop is not a member of the Review Board but attends Review Board meetings as needed.
Below are questions about making a report of sexual abuse to the Diocese of Owensboro.
Why does the Church require a diocesan review board?
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People makes it mandatory in each diocese.
Their expertise is an invaluable resource for bishops when assessing allegations of child abuse.
Some victims may feel more comfortable knowing that lay persons are involved when their case is reviewed.
I am afraid. What if someone finds out out I called to report abuse?
Initially, all calls to the Pastoral Assistance Coordinator are confidential. In some cases, the Diocese must report an allegation to civil authorities, based on state laws and the possible protection of others. Civil authorities will maintain confidentiality to the greatest possible extent. Neither we nor civil authorities want harm to come to you when you file a report.
When is it okay NOT to report abuse to the Church?
You always have the option to report criminal behavior to civil authorities. Sometimes you have a legal duty to do so.
It is never a legal requirement to report abuse to Church authorities. We want you to feel comfortable with your decision, whether or not you decide to report your situation to Church authorities.
I live with someone who will not believe me if I report abuse.
If you are the victim, do not let it stop you from filing a report.
If the victim is someone else, please report it to civil authorities regardless of what your family and friends may believe about the credibility of your claim.
I did report it. I was not satisfied with what happened.
If you reported clergy abuse to the Church and are dissatisfied, we are open to hearing your reasons, whether or not you reported it in this diocese.
If you are dissatisfied with civil authorities, there are avenues of appeal within agencies and the court system. We may be able to point you in the right direction.
Christian morality teaches us to forgive and forget.
Forgiveness is indeed a Christian principle. However, forgetting is not. Even when forgiveness is granted, there may still be a need for healing, restitution, or reparation.
If you have forgiven your abuser, but still feel dissatisfied, we may be able to refer you to a counselor who can help you sort through your feelings.
I want to find relief from the abuse I suffered from the Church. How do I get that?
If you are a victim of clergy abuse, or abuse by someone acting in the name of the Church, we want to help you in whatever way we can. Please call the Pastoral Assistance Coordinator at the confidential phone line: 270-852-8380.