“Today, there can be no more secrets in our Diocese. We can only be a holy people, a people who are better together, if we have confidence in our priests and if you trust me as your shepherd.” — Bishop W. Shawn McKnight
Preventing sexual abuse
Four ways the Diocese of Jefferson City is preventing sexual abuse.
Every person who works or volunteers for the Church in a setting with children must undergo a background check and receive training on safe environment. This means nearly 18,000 people in our Diocese know the warning signs of predatory behavior, know the Diocese’s code of conduct and know how to report suspicious activity of anyone who might want to harm children. The most recent incident of physical sexual abuse of a minor in our Diocese occurred in 1997.
If you or someone you know has been abused or victimized by someone representing the Catholic Church, believe in the possibility for hope, help and healing. Please contact our Victim Assistance Coordinator, Nancy Hoey, at 573-694-3199 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also contact the Missouri Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-3738 or the Missouri Adult Abuse & Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-0210.
Every allegation of abuse by someone representing the Catholic Church, whether it concerns a minor or an adult, is reviewed by an independent group of professionals. The bishop has used a confidential consultative body since 1991. Today, the Diocesan Review Board is comprised of 24 individuals. Their professional and personal expertise includes attorney-at-law, counseling, criminal justice, education (including a Catholic school principal), human resources, law enforcement, pastoral ministry (including a pastor), pediatrics, psychiatry, and social services. The bishop relies on their recommendations to determine how to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse.
Every candidate for the priesthood and diaconate undergoes a thorough investigation and formation. Seminarians and diaconal candidates for the Diocese of Jefferson City are required to undergo psychological screening, receive safe environment training and criminal record checks, and receive formation in psychosexual development.
If you or someone you know has been abused or victimized by someone representing the Catholic Church, believe in the possibility for Hope, Help and Healing. Please contact:
- The Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1.800.392.3738
- The Missouri Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1.800.392.0210
- Your local civil authorities
- Diocese of Jefferson City Victim assistance coordinator: Nancy Hoey at 573.694.3199
Visit the State of Missouri for information, regarding reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.
What our leaders are saying
"Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
“Families need to know that the Church is making every effort to protect their children. They should also know that they have every right to turn to the Church with full confidence, for it is a safe and secure home.”
Pope Francis, Homily at Mass with Victims of Abuse, July 7, 2014
“In 2002, the bishops of the United States approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. [Since that time] there has been striking improvement in the Church’s response to and treatment of victims…Children are safer now because of the creation of safe environments, and action has been taken to permanently remove offenders from ministry. Yet much work still needs to be done.”
USCCB National Review Board
“Let there be no doubt or confusion on anyone’s part: For us, your bishops, our obligation to protect children and young people and to prevent sexual abuse flows from the mission and example given to us by Jesus Christ himself, in whose name we serve.”