Child and Youth Protection
- The Archdiocese of Baltimore is committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims. We urge anyone who has any knowledge of any child sexual abuse, misconduct, or neglect to come forward and report it immediately to the local Department of Social Services Child Protective Service. In addition, if clergy or other church personnel is suspected of committing the abuse, misconduct, or neglect we ask that you also call the Victims’ Assistance Hotline at 1-866-417-7469. If you have any other information relevant to this matter, please contact the Archdiocese Office of Child and Youth Protection at 410-547-5348.
- If you have reason to believe that a bishop has engaged in sexual misconduct* or has interfered with an investigation into sexual misconduct, please report it at www.reportbishopabuse.org.
- If you have reason to report other misconduct, such as financial wrongdoing or human resource issues please click here.
* Under Pope Francis’s Vos estis lux mundi and the Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the following forms of misconduct by bishops should be reported using this dedicated reporting system: 1) forcing someone, by violence or threat or through abuse of authority, to perform or submit to sexual acts; 2) performing sexual acts with a minor or a vulnerable person; 3) the production, exhibition, possession or distribution, including by electronic means, of child pornography, as well as by the recruitment of or inducement of a minor or a vulnerable person to participate in pornographic exhibitions; and 4) actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil investigations or canonical investigations, whether administrative or penal, against a cleric or a religious regarding the misconduct referred to in 1-3 above.
Click here for resources on talking to a child about sexual abuse.
CHILD and YOUTH PROTECTION EFFORTS - St. Louis & St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Churches
An update on our ongoing efforts to create a safe environment for our children and adults. Within our Pastorate and our Archdiocese, the Church adheres to the following practices:
1 - Online Training for Child Protection
Any volunteer or staff member of the Catholic Church who has interaction with a minor under the age of 18 must complete a screening process called VIRTUS. This process includes:
- Completion of an online training course
- A national criminal background check
- Submission and verification of three (3) personal references
This applies to priests, deacons, parish staff, teachers, coaches, and adult volunteers.
2 - Psychological Evaluation for Clergy
When men apply to become priests or deacons, they also undergo special psychological evaluations to ensure that they have good emotional, psychological, and sexual maturity.
3 - Handling of Accusations
When an accusation is made of inappropriate conduct with a minor, and the Archdiocese deems it credible, the priest / deacon / teacher / coach / volunteer can no longer serve in any capacity. This is a strong stance. There is zero tolerance. The person cannot resume ministry unless proven innocent.
4 - Ongoing Review of Accusations
Another step the Church is taking is to have two different review boards that meet regularly to discuss any accusations or ongoing investigations in the Archdiocese of Baltimore involving our 140 parishes, 40 elementary schools, and 18 high schools. These boards are composed of lay men and women, as well as clergy. These boards include individuals in law enforcement and counseling.
5 - Ethics Hotline
The Archdiocese of Baltimore established an Ethics Hotline so that parishioners could forward ethical concerns about parish staff, clergy, and even bishops to the Archdiocese.
6 - Accountability
As early as 20 years ago, in 2002, Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore began publicly releasing the names of any priests in the Archdiocese who had been accused of inappropriate conduct with minors. At this time, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has given approximately $6 million to the victims to help them with counseling and rebuilding their lives. Since 2002, the Archdiocese has published the names of 150 priests and religious brothers who were credibly accused. This is an ongoing effort to be transparent to parishioners and people of our Archdiocese.