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Archdiocese in step with charter

Allegations against deceased priest substantiated, victims offered assistance

Sexual abuse allegations by two people against a now-deceased archdiocesan priest for incidents 26 years ago were investigated and substantiated by the Archdiocese of Omaha, according to the archdiocese’s fiscal year 2014-2015 audit report.

 

The report was submitted to StoneBridge Business Partners of Rochester, N.Y., one aspect of the archdiocese’s ongoing cooperation with the U.S. bishops’ "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," adopted in 2002.

One of the victims accepted the archdioceses offer of counseling and spiritual assistance, the other declined the offer, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor.

The claims, part of a national report on charter compliance released by the bishops in May, were made for incidents alleged to have taken place in 1990. Archdiocesan officials investigated the claims and reported them to the 11-member volunteer board that advises Archbishop George J. Lucas on the protection of young people, Deacon McNeil said. The archdiocese also told police, but the statute of limitations had passed and police did not investigate, he said.

The archdiocese’s investigation and assistance to the victims – as well as other efforts to protect young people in the archdiocese – were once again in full compliance with the charter, a record that dates back to the U.S. bishops’ adoption of the document, Deacon McNeil said.

In addition, "Archbishop Lucas has been emphasizing his wish to let people know that Mary Beth Hanus continues to be available for anyone who has been abused by church personnel and wants to start the healing process," Deacon McNeil said.

Hanus, manager of the archdiocese’s Victim Outreach and Prevention Office, can be reached at 402-827-3798 or toll free at 888-808-9055.

The archdiocese complies with both the annual audit and an annual survey of expenses and other details around protection of children conducted for the bishops each year by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

For example, everyone dealing with children in the name of the church must participate in safe environment training and have a background check, Deacon McNeil said. And children in parishes and schools receive safe environment training appropriate for their ages, he said.

In the period July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, children, priests, deacons, educators, seminarians, employees and volunteers – 47,389 people – received safe environment training. The archdiocese spent $254,000 on child protection and victim assistance efforts.

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