Promise to Protect and Promote Healing

A Letter from Archbishop William E. Lori

Dear Friends in Christ,

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the landmark document, The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a set of mandatory child protection policies for every diocese in the United States that included a zero-tolerance policy for anyone credibly accused of child sexual abuse. I had the privilege of helping draft both the Charter and the accompanying Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons, which were favorably voted on by the bishops of the United States and approved for their promulgation by the Holy See. (read more)

To mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People, the following resources are provided to offer insights into the Archdiocese of Baltimore efforts to prevent abuse and to create safe environments for young people in the Church through full implementation and compliance with the landmark document.

Timeline for the Archdiocese of Baltimore

1993

Archdiocese publicized written child protection policies and established an independent review board. The Archdiocese begins reporting all allegations of child sexual abuse, regardless of age, in response to the Maryland Attorney General’s new guidance requiring mandatory reporting of historic allegations.

1994

2002

Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People is promulgated.

Archdiocese apologizes for the abuse committed by ministers of the Church and discloses the names of all credibly accused clergy, and money spent as a result of clergy abuse in a letter sent to all registered parishioners and on the website.

2003

Archdiocese requires mandatory screening and training policies for employees and volunteers and safe environment education for children. Archdiocese establishes a new Office of Child & Youth Protection and hires the first lay Director and Victim Assistance Coordinator of the Office.

2004

Archdiocese hosts a healing and atonement service in acknowledgment of the pain and harm caused to victims-survivors. November (CR article)

The first national audit is conducted by an outside firm and commends the Archdiocese for full compliance with the Charter.

2004 USCCB OCYP Annual Report

2007

2014

Contract with Shield the Vulnerable for online training and compliance management.  Training to be updated every 5 years. (In 2017 VIRTUS replaces Shield the Vulnerable.)

2017

Archdiocese supports legislation allowing victims more time to file civil lawsuits in cases of child sexual abuse (passed in 2017) and legislation for child protection education in all schools (passed in 2018). 

“Baltimore archbishop outlines path toward reform and renewal in the Catholic Church” (Baltimore Sun)

2018

Maryland Attorney General’s investigation of child sexual abuse in Maryland begins.

All employees/clergy must complete child protection refresher training annually.

Archdiocese adds names of priests included in the report by the Pennsylvania Attorney General with ties to Maryland to the archdiocesan list of credibly accused clergy.

2019

Archdiocese adds names of 23 deceased priests already reported to law enforcement to its list of credibly accused clergy. (National Catholic Reporter)

Archdiocese becomes the first diocese in the U.S. to implement a third-party reporting system for allegations against its bishops.

2020

Archdiocese adopts a new reporting system of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for allegations against bishops, appoints Terrance Sheridan, retired law enforcement officer in Maryland, to independently receive reports against its bishops and to ensure compliance with the new reporting system.

In response to the pandemic, the Archdiocese created “Messages that Protect,” online child protection lessons made available to parents and teachers for use in virtual classroom settings for students in grades K-8, in English and Spanish. In addition, the Archdiocese conducted safe environment training for guidance counselors and teachers about keeping children safe during virtual classes and the importance of vigilance and reporting during times of social distancing/isolation.

2022

Voice of the Faithful ranks the Archdiocese 3rd (out of 177 dioceses) in its annual report measuring abuse prevention and safe environment programs in the United States. (Catholic Review)

Diocesan victim advocates say they’re on healing quest for abuse survivors

To mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People, the following resources are provided to offer insights into the Archdiocese of Baltimore efforts to prevent abuse and to create safe environments for young people in the Church through full implementation and compliance with the landmark document.

Timeline for the Archdiocese of Baltimore

1993

Archdiocese publicized written child protection policies and established an independent review board. The Archdiocese begins reporting all allegations of child sexual abuse, regardless of age, in response to the Maryland Attorney General’s new guidance requiring mandatory reporting of historic allegations.

2002

Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People is promulgated.

Archdiocese apologizes for the abuse committed by ministers of the Church and discloses the names of all credibly accused clergy, and money spent as a result of clergy abuse in a letter sent to all registered parishioners and on the website.

2003

Archdiocese requires mandatory screening and training policies for employees and volunteers and safe environment education for children. Archdiocese establishes a new Office of Child & Youth Protection and hires the first lay Director and Victim Assistance Coordinator of the Office.

2004

Archdiocese hosts a healing and atonement service in acknowledgment of the pain and harm caused to victims-survivors. November (CR article)

The first national audit is conducted by an outside firm and commends the Archdiocese for full compliance with the Charter.

2004 USCCB OCYP Annual Report

2014

Contract with Shield the Vulnerable for online training and compliance management.  Training to be updated every 5 years. (In 2017 VIRTUS replaces Shield the Vulnerable.)

2017

Archdiocese supports legislation allowing victims more time to file civil lawsuits in cases of child sexual abuse (passed in 2017) and legislation for child protection education in all schools (passed in 2018). 

Baltimore archbishop outlines path toward reform and renewal in the Catholic Church

2018

Maryland Attorney General’s investigation of child sexual abuse in Maryland begins.

All employees/clergy must complete child protection refresher training annually.

Archdiocese adds names of priests included in the report by the Pennsylvania Attorney General with ties to Maryland to the archdiocesan list of credibly accused clergy.

2019

Archdiocese adds names of 23 deceased priests already reported to law enforcement to its list of credibly accused clergy. (National Catholic Reporter)

Archdiocese becomes the first diocese in the U.S. to implement a third-party reporting system for allegations against its bishops.

2020

Archdiocese adopts a new reporting system of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for allegations against bishops, appoints Terrance Sheridan, retired law enforcement officer in Maryland, to independently receive reports against its bishops and to ensure compliance with the new reporting system.

In response to the pandemic, the Archdiocese created “Messages that Protect,” online child protection lessons made available to parents and teachers for use in virtual classroom settings for students in grades K-8, in English and Spanish. In addition, the Archdiocese conducted safe environment training for guidance counselors and teachers about keeping children safe during virtual classes and the importance of vigilance and reporting during times of social distancing/isolation.

2022

Voice of the Faithful ranks the Archdiocese 3rd (out of 177 dioceses) in its annual report measuring abuse prevention and safe environment programs in the United States. (Catholic Review)

Diocesan victim advocates say they’re on healing quest for abuse survivors

Archbishop’s pastoral letters reflect his teachings

by Chris Gunty
Catholic Review

Archbishop William E. Lori has used homilies, columns and more to ensure that Catholics in the Archdiocese of Baltimore know and understand his theology and pastoral priorities.  (read more)

Archdiocese follows detailed process to respond to allegations of abuse

by Chris Gunty
Catholic Review

When the Archdiocese of Baltimore receives any allegation of child sexual abuse by clergy, employees or volunteers in the church, archdiocesan officials take very seriously the person who has come forward, according to Bishop Adam J. Parker, moderator of the curia and vicar general. (read more)

Archdiocesan Review Board continues to monitor safe environments for young people

by Chris Gunty
Catholic Review

Reports from the archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection and the Independent Review Board indicate that the archdiocese continues its efforts to educate about safe environments for young people and to screen clergy, employees and volunteers to determine suitability for ministry. (read more)