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2023 Sexual Misconduct Policies

Revised June 29th, 2023

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

(2023) - Sexual Misconduct Policies (6-29-23)
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My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse.

In keeping with the Church’s promise to continue our efforts to protect our children, and all people from any form of sexual misconduct and/or abuse in our Diocese, I have asked that these Sexual Misconduct Policies be revised and updated in light of recent Church promulgations, instructions, and modifications surrounding the area of sexual misconduct.1 These documents establish new procedural norms and processes to combat sexual abuse and have revised Book VI of the Code of Canon Law. Further, I have asked that vulnerable adults to be added as persons that this Diocese specifically protects from sexual misconduct from church personnel.

The Diocese of Boise has a zero tolerance of sexual misconduct and abuse.

The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful. In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church, ... Therefore, it is good that procedures be universally adopted to prevent and combat these crimes that betray the trust of the faithful. (Vos Estis Lux Mundi, preamble).

1 Numerous Church documents have been promulgated since the last version of

the Diocese of Boise’s Sexual Misconduct Policies in 2016 was decreed. These documents provide additional guidance, approaches, processes, and procedures to combat all forms of sexual misconduct. A few of those documents are:

  • FRANCIS, Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio, Vos Estis Lux Mundi, (May 7, 2019); “updated” on March 25, 2023.

  • FRANCIS, Apostolic Constitution Pascite gregem Dei, (May 23, 2021).

  • DICASTERY FOR THE DOCTRINE OF FAITH, Vademecum on certain points of procedure in treating cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by clerics (Version 2.0), (June 5, 2022); Version 1 was promulgated on July 16, 2020.

  • UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, revised (June 2018).

Our goal with these policy revisions is to continue to provide tools to protect our children and vulnerable adults from the damaging effects of sexual abuse, and to continue to address the issue of sexual misconduct as a whole in our Diocese. These policies are a continuation of those which have been in effect in the Diocese of Boise since 1998. They reflect greater vigilance in the protection of children and vulnerable adults, including establishing ongoing safe environment programs that encompass standards of behavior for all personnel. They also include screening practices -- continued training and education for all -- including parents and children, as well as an emphasis on formation for the priesthood and permanent diaconate, and continuing formation for all clergy.

The Diocese of Boise’s revised policies for sexual misconduct follow the four major headings outlined in the Charter and are organized as follows: (1) Protecting the Faithful in the Future; (2) Promoting Healing and Reconciliation; (3) Guaranteeing a Fair and Effective Response to Allegations of Sexual Misconduct; and (4) Ensuring Accountability of Our Procedures.

The Church is comprised of church workers (priest, deacons, seminarians, women and men religious, lay employees, and volunteers), and the vast majority are ethical, competent, mature, and dedicated to the protection of all the faithful. Church personnel are called to “tend [to] the flock of God, guarding it not by constraint but willingly, as it pleases God” (cf. 1 Pet. 5:2). In cases where Church personnel have been less than professional and have stepped outside the sacred trust placed in them, the Church must demonstrate accountability for harm that is caused. It is my desire that these policies help uphold this most serious responsibility, along with the continued help of our Diocesan Review Board comprised of experts in the treatment, investigation, and professional care of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. These experts also include persons with experience in ministry, law, victimization, health care, mental health treatment, law enforcement, jurisprudence, human resources, business, management, education, and other relevant fields.

The current sexual misconduct policies were first promulgated on the 26th Day of August, 2003, the 110th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Boise, with revisions in 2007, and again in 2016. I now revise them again on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, this 29th day of June 2023. The solemnity reminds us that the leaders of the Church are entrusted with the obligation and responsibility to protect the most vulnerable of the faithful. Like Peter, we must be unshakable, in our responsibilities and obligations. Like Paul, we must live for Christ, and with Christ: in giving of ourselves, by building up the Church and the faithful. We must be witnesses like these Apostles and two great pillars of the Church; to be imitators and not admirers, protagonists of the Gospel and not spectators. It is not just the words in these policies, but our deeds that will ensure they are fully implemented and practiced.

In his Apostolic Constitution, Pascite gregem Dei, Pope Francis notes that the Church throughout the centuries has given itself rules of conduct to tend to the flock of God, to protect those most vulnerable from the Devil. Charity and mercy require a Father to commit himself to straightening what at times has become crooked. It is a task, he explains, which must “be carried out as a concrete and inalienable requirement of charity not only towards the Church, the Christian community and possible victims, but also toward those who have committed a crime, who require both mercy and correction from the Church.”

All previous Diocesan laws, policies, procedures, norms that conflict with the Policy hereby promulgated, are abrogated. Additional policies, appendices, norms, or Diocesan laws added, will take effect on the date indicated on said policy. Customs that conflict with this Policy are suppressed. All universal law of the Church, particular law issued by the United States Episcopal Conference, and local policies or procedures retain force unless legitimately superseded by Diocesan and/or Universal Church law.

Given at Boise, Idaho, on this Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the 29th day of

June, in the year of Our Lord 2023.

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Diocesan Pastoral Center

FAX: (208) 342-0224

1501 S. FEDERAL WAY, SUITE 400, BOISE, ID 83705

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