If anyone has reason to believe, or might suspect, there is or has been abuse involving clergy, employees, volunteers, or children attending Catholic schools, parish religious education programs, or other church-related events, those suspicions or allegations are to be reported first to civil authorities and then to the Archdiocese via its assigned Victim Assistance Coordinator, Rocio Rodriguez.
Rocio Rodriguez, LMFT, Victim Assistance Coordinator
Phone: (415) 614-5506
Every allegation will be treated seriously and immediate steps taken to protect the alleged victim(s). These actions will be taken discretely so as to protect the confidentiality and the rights of both the victim and the alleged abuser.
State law requires people in certain positions to make such reports. These people are referred to as "Mandatory Reporters". All other adults, called "Ethical Reporters" should also report suspected abuse.
Investigation following the report should be left to duly appointed professionals.
Instructions For Reporting
Cases of alleged abuse in which the abuser and the victim are of the same household are to be reported to Child Protective Services (CPS), while cases in which the alleged victim and the accused do not share a household should be reported to law enforcement authorities (sheriff's department or local police).
What Happens When Someone Reports an Allegation of Abuse to the Archdiocese?
- The Victim Assistance Coordinator will ask if this has been reported to Child Protective Services or the Police Department. If not, the Victim Assistance Coordinator will inform the person that the policy of the Archdiocese is to report the matter to the proper civil authorities. If the victim is a current minor the report is made to Child Protective Services if the abuser and victim are living in the same household. If the alleged minor victim and the accused do not share a household the report is made to the Sheriff's Department or Police Department. If the victim is no longer a minor the report is made to the local District Attorney's office (see above).
- The preliminary facts gathered by the Victim Assistance Coordinator will be referred to a qualified investigator (i.e. retired policeman/woman) who prepares a detailed report for consideration by the Archdiocesan Independent Review Board (IRB). When the preliminary investigation (e.g. the initial information gathered by the Victim Assistance Coordinator and /or the supplemental information obtained by the investigator) so indicates, the alleged perpetrator shall be relieved of active employment/ministry (placed on administrative leave) pending the conclusion of the investigation. The IRB then makes its recommendation to the Archbishop as to whether there is sufficient evidence to sustain that the sexual abuse of a minor has occurred.
- The Archbishop and/or the Victim Assistance Coordinator will share the finding of the Independent Review Board and the Archbishop's determination concerning the investigation with the alleged victim and perpetrator. In the event there is a determination that abuse occurred and the alleged perpetrator is a clergyman, he will be informed of his canonical right to request a canonical trial. If a clergyman admits that the abuse occurred, or chooses not to contest the matter, or the finding is sustained at trial then, pursuant to the Bishops Charter (Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal: Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People), the individual will be permanently removed from ministry.