The Star-Herald

Maine joins three states on abuse reporting system

PORTLAND, Maine — Dioceses in four New England states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont) have launched a third-party, independent system for individuals to report abuse by Catholic bishops. 

The system will confidentially receive information reporting possible violations by bishops in the dioceses that make up the Boston Province: Archdiocese of Boston, Diocese of Fall River, Diocese of Worcester and Diocese of Springfield, all in Massachusetts, along with the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, the Diocese of Manchester  (d Diocese of Portland (ME).

The system can be accessed by calling 1-844-762-5208 or visiting www.bishopreporting.ethicspoint.com, where visitors will be guided through making a report, anonymously or not. The special website also features a FAQ section.

The phone number and website are specifically for the report of bishops in these dioceses. All reports will be reviewed and forwarded to the appropriate authorities, as necessary, and to the Apostolic Nuncio, the Holy See’s diplomatic representative to the United States.

In May, Pope Francis promulgated Vos Estis Lux Mundi (“You are the Light of the World”) in which new substantive measures to respond to the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Church were identified. Among them was a requirement to establish procedural norms for investigating crimes by bishops.

Over the past 20 years, much has been accomplished in addressing the clergy sexual abuse crisis. In the Diocese of Portland, this has included mandatory background checks, protection and prevention training, and a diocesan review board comprised mostly of laypeople. 

According to diocesan officials, since many of the procedures were implemented in 2002, there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric in the Diocese of Portland. The new third-party system will ensure that there is an effective, independent system in place to report misconduct by bishops as well.

The diocese now has three reporting systems in place in the Diocese of Portland

To make a report of possible sexual abuse of a minor by a church representative, contact civil authorities and Michael Magalski, director of the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Professional Responsibility, at (207) 321-7836 or michael.magalski@portlanddiocese.org.

To make a report of activity which possibly violates the standards of ethical conduct in the Church (fraud, misconduct, safety violations, harassment, or substance abuse at a Catholic parish, school, or on the diocesan level), visit www.redflagreporting.com or call 1-877-647-3335. Either process will require the Diocese of Portland’s client code which is: RCDPortland.

Lastly, to make a report of possible violations by bishops in the Boston Province, call 1-844-762-5208 or visit www.bishopreporting.ethicspoint.com.

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