DECREE ESTABLISHING AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION TO REVIEW FILES IN THE POSSESSION OF THE DIOCESE OF JUNEAU RELATING TO SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

 

Signed Decree        Press Release 

In order to carry out my authority and responsibility as Bishop of Juneau to do everything necessary to protect minors and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse by ministers of the Catholic Church acting on behalf of this Diocese, I hereby establish an Independent Commission of three highly qualified individuals, namely, 

Patricia Collins, retired Juneau Superior Court Judge,

Thomas Schulz, retired Ketchikan Superior Court Judge,

Kris Sell, retired Juneau Police Lieutenant,

who are charged to review the files in the possession of the Diocese of all ordained ministers and religious men and women who have acted on behalf of the Diocese of Juneau since its establishment in 1951, and of all other representatives of the Diocese, including lay employees and volunteers, against whom allegations of sexual misconduct have been made.

The Commission will evaluate all allegations of sexual misconduct by ordained and religious ministers and others, including lay employees and volunteers, who have acted on behalf of the Diocese of Juneau to determine whether there is credible evidence to support the belief that any of them have engaged in sexual misconduct as well as an accounting of improper handling of any sexual abuse cases by those in authority, and recommended improvements.  For these purposes, “sexual misconduct” is defined as any sexually related conduct that is unlawful under the laws of the State of Alaska or of the United States of America, or the canon law of the Catholic Church, including the particular law of this Diocese.  If the Commission discovers an allegation of sexual misconduct during its review that is a violation of the criminal laws of the State of Alaska or the United States of America, but was not previously reported to law enforcement, it must immediately inform the Bishop so that the allegation can be reported to law enforcement.

The members of the Commission will have free access to all records in the possession of the Diocese of Juneau, including its parishes and other subordinate entities.  The Bishop will ensure that the Commission has the benefit of any expertise on the policies and procedures of the Diocese, canon law, or any other matter reasonably deemed necessary by the Commission for the performance of its duties.

Each member of the Commission will have an equal voice and vote in determining whether an allegation of sexual misconduct is or is not supported by credible evidence.  To the extent possible, members of the Commission should strive to reach consensus in making such decisions.  The Commission may conclude that it is unable to determine whether or not a particular allegation of sexual misconduct is supported by credible evidence.

Upon completing its review of the relevant records, the Commission will deliver a written report of its determinations simultaneously to the Bishop and to the President of the Diocesan Review Board for the Protection of Children, Young People, and Vulnerable Adults.  Included in the report must be a list of the names of all ordained and religious ministers and others, including lay employees and volunteers, who have acted on behalf of the Diocese of Juneau and against whom allegations of sexual misconduct have been supported by credible evidence.

After the Bishop and the members of the Diocesan Review Board have reviewed the Commission’s report, the Bishop will publish the names of all ordained and religious ministers and others, including lay employees and volunteers, who have acted on behalf of the Diocese of Juneau and against whom allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors and vulnerable adults have been supported by credible evidence.

The Business Manager of the Diocese will prepare a budget to reflect the costs of the Commission’s activities, including travel expenses, administrative costs, and reasonable compensation of its members.

GIVEN at Juneau, Alaska, on December 11, 2018.

 

Most Reverend Andrew E. Bellisario, C.M.

Bishop of Juneau

 

Roberta Izzard
Notary