The following is a checklist for victims of clerical sex abuse. If you, or anyone you know, has become a victim of clerical sex abuse, either as a minor or adult, you need to do the following as quickly as possible…
- CALL THE POLICE! Seriously, this should always be the FIRST thing you do without exception. Even if you’re not sure if an actual crime has been committed. Chances are, you’re probably not a lawyer or cop. So call the police and let them figure out if any laws have been broken. That’s their job! Let them do it. Just file the police report, and get it on record ASAP.
- CONTACT YOUR BISHOP’S CHANCERY OFFICE. This should be the LAST thing you do, AFTER contacting the police first. Why? Because there’s only a 50% chance your bishop will do anything. It really depends on the bishop and the diocese. The bishops’ track record has been horrendous on this. The bishop should be notified, so he can do something if he’s willing, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, don’t worry. If you’ve contacted the police first, as you should have, they can handle this step for you.
Remember the order: (1) POLICE, then (2) bishop. It must always be in that order. The sole reason why this kind of corruption has gone on in the Church for so long is because victims have reported things in the wrong order. They went to the bishop first, who did nothing. Then years later, after it was too late to do anything, they finally went to the police, but the statute of limitations had expired. By going in the wrong order, they were victimized twice. Don’t let that happen to you or your loved ones. If you want the abuse to STOP, then notify the right people in the right order: (1) POLICE, then (2) bishop.
Shane Schaetzel is an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism and was trained as a catechist through the University of Dayton – a Catholic Marianist Institution. Shane’s articles have been featured on LifeSiteNews, ChurchMilitant, The Remnant Newspaper, Forward in Christ, and Catholic Online. Shane is an author of Catholic books, which can be read here.