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placeholder Bishops say report on abuse key to understanding

Timeline of diocesan responses to clergy sex abuse

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End of 98-year era at St. Michael in Livermore

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Indonesia next stop for Sister Barbara Dawson

St. Edward will be remain Dominican-affiliated, but without a Dominican at the helm

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Tradition, legacy and celebration at Saint Mary’s College

Inquiring mind makes a showing at state science fair

Determination leads to honor for Holy Names grad

Graduates urged to keep texting in check, stay connected to God

School award-winners named

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placeholder June 6, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 11   •   Oakland, CA
Timeline of diocesan responses to clergy sex abuse

Here is a chronological listing of major events in the Oakland Diocese regarding response to clergy sex abuse and the prevention of further abuse.

1988: The Oakland Diocesan Senate of Priests develops a one-page set of guidelines for dealing with any report of sexual abuse by a priest, religious or other Church employee. Policies require prompt response to all allegations, even if the complaint is anonymous. While the allegation is being investigated, the priest is placed on administrative leave. In the case of a minor, if the allegation of sexual abuse is true, the priest will not be returned to ministry.

April 1993: Five victims of clergy sexual abuse picket the diocesan Chancery office on Lakeshore Avenue, asking for apologies from the Church.

Twenty victims of clergy sex abuse attend the regional meeting of Survivors of Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Union City.

December 1993: Bishop John Cummins issues a four-page updated document outlining diocesan procedures for addressing allegations of clergy sexual abuse and providing solace, counseling and other pastoral assistance to victims.

1996: California enacts Megan’s Law, allowing organizations to access the state’s list of registered sex offenders. The diocesan Catholic Youth Organization begins checking all coaches and referees working in its CYO programs.

March 2000: Bishop Cummins conducts an apology service for all survivors of clergy abuse in the diocese at Leona Lodge in Oakland. During the service he promises that the diocese’s foremost concern will be to offer immediate and appropriate care to victims and their families.

March 2002: Carondelet Sister Barbara Flannery, diocesan chancellor, and the newly formed Ministry for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse develop a “No More Secrets” public outreach campaign to help survivors connect with one another and provide peer support.

June 2002: The U.S. bishops issue their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People requiring all 190 U.S. dioceses to conduct background checks on all Church employees and all parish and school volunteers who have contact with children. The Charter specifies that all employees and volunteers must also participate annually in a training session on the prevention of child sexual abuse.

December 2003: Between 1994 and the end of 2003, diocesan settlements to victims totaled $1.516 million. Additional funds covered the cost of counseling.
January 2004: Bishop Allen Vigneron presides at the first in a series of apology services for survivors of clergy abuse. Up to 100 people attend the service at St. Ignatius Parish in Antioch during which the bishop named the priests who had abused in that parish and apologized for the suffering caused to the victims and the entire parish community.

All diocesan and parish employees and all volunteers who work with children under 18 are required to sign a set of guidelines each year acknowledging they understand what is required to insure a safe environment for minors. The guidelines specify the circumstances in which adults may meet with minors, offer them counseling or discipline, accompany them on excursions, provide lessons or carry out other activities.

August 2004: Diocese introduces its new Safe Environment Project for Children, an educational training program for all parish and diocesan employees and volunteers who work with children. The project complies with the U.S Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

2005: Oakland Diocese agrees to $56 million in settlements and another $270,633 in therapy for victims. Approximately 57 percent of amount is covered by diocesan insurance.

May 2005: One year after its inception, the Safe Environment for Children project announces that it has trained 13,000 volunteers and employees and hopes to double that number by the end of June 2006. Besides the trainings, the project requires that volunteers undergo a Megan’s Law check for past criminal records and all employees are fingerprinted.

October 2005: No More Secrets, the diocesan support group for survivors of clergy abuse and their spouses and family members, sponsors a retreat, “Coming Out of the Darkness,” at Presentation Center in Los Gatos. No More Secrets holds a meeting the first Saturday of each month at an Oakland location, facilitated by a trained counselor.

August 2006: The Safe Environment for Children program unveils its new “Shield the Vulnerable” website, a 90-minute interactive course which teaches priests, diocesan, parish and school staffs and volunteers how to recognize, report and prevent child abuse. The diocese is one of the first in the nation to provide this type of online training.

October 2008: Bishop Vigneron dedicates the new Healing Garden for survivors of clergy sexual abuse at the new Cathedral of Christ the Light. The inscription on a garden plaque vows, “We remember and we affirm, never again.”

June 2009: The Safe Environment program reports that during the past academic year, it has trained 37,833 children and youth. In addition, 316 priests, 98 deacons, 1,464 teachers, 112 diocesan employees, 1,536 parish/school employees and 30,699 volunteers received trainings in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

December 2009: Diocesan Finance Office reports total settlements paid to victims from 1994 through 2009 was $60,516,000.

April 2010: Both the Safe Environment and No More Secrets programs continue to educate and provide supportive outreach within the diocese. Counseling costs for victims paid in the first three months of 2010 is $5,794.

May 2011: In the Diocese of Oakland there are no known cases of sexual abuse by clergy to have taken place over the past 20 years.

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