A Pledge to Heal

"I will continue my commitment to you as your bishop that every instance of an allegation of sexual abuse of minors by anyone representing the church be they bishop, priest, or laity will be addressed professionally, transparently, fairly, and thoroughly according to the norms of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, so the light of truth will shine on this dark and painful wound in the Church and in the world."
- Bishop Carl A. Kemme

Report Abuse Report Bishop Abuse

Facts Around the Abuse Crisis

The nature and scope of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002

Research Conducted by John Jay College

The clergy sex abuse scandal unfolding in the news today is the same public scandal that erupted with national media reports in 2002 (beginning in Boston). It is likely, but no one can be sure, that the cases in the grand jury report have already been present in existing allegation totals (reports to the John Jay researchers are cited as a source for information about allegations in the grand jury report). Just as then, the abuse in the headlines most often occurred in the 1960s through the 1980s.

Have new allegations of abuse increased?

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) has collected the numbers of new allegations of sexual abuse by clergy since 2004. CARA’s studies, through 2017, include 8,694 allegations. The distribution of cases reported to CARA are nearly identical to the distribution of cases, over time, in John Jay’s results.

In the last three years, 22 allegations of abuse occurring during 2015-2017 have been made. This is an average of about seven per year nationwide in the Church. That is far too many. Nothing is acceptable other than zero.

 

The nature and scope of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002

Research Conducted by John Jay College

The clergy sex abuse scandal unfolding in the news today is the same public scandal that erupted with national media reports in 2002 (beginning in Boston). It is likely, but no one can be sure, that the cases in the grand jury report have already been present in existing allegation totals (reports to the John Jay researchers are cited as a source for information about allegations in the grand jury report). Just as then, the abuse in the headlines most often occurred in the 1960s through the 1980s.

Have new allegations of abuse increased?

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) has collected the numbers of new allegations of sexual abuse by clergy since 2004. CARA’s studies, through 2017, include 8,694 allegations. The distribution of cases reported to CARA are nearly identical to the distribution of cases, over time, in John Jay’s results.

In the last three years, 22 allegations of abuse occurring during 2015-2017 have been made. This is an average of about seven per year nationwide in the Church. That is far too many. Nothing is acceptable other than zero.

2019 USCCB efforts

Catholic Diocese of Wichita Statistics

Catholic Diocese of Wichita Program Support

Virtus Training

Members of the clergy, religious, employees and each volunteer who has regular contact with a minor is required to attend a live awareness session called Protecting God’s Children for Adults. This session, provided by certified VIRTUS Facilitators, gives participants an awareness of the signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which abusers commit abuse and 5 concrete steps to create safe environments and to prevent abuse.

All clergy and employees must complete ongoing online training in the form of a monthly bulletin with a question. Each parish, school, or ministry is required to monitor bulletin completion of their employees several times a year.

Over 2,600 Sessions have been held since 2002; over 123 were held in 2020.

We currently have over 34,000 active accounts in VIRTUS, around 1,250 were trained in 2020.

We have 124 VIRTUS Facilitators on our roster.

Background Checks

Members of the clergy, religious, employees and each volunteer who has regular contact with a minor must also go through a background check.

Background checks are renewed every five years.

Backgrounds are checked through KBI, KASPER and NSOPW websites.

Code of Ethical Standards

It is required that all clergy, employees and each volunteer who has contact with minors sign the Code of Ethical Standards to acknowledge receipt and to confirm adherence.

Our Code of Ethical Standards was updated, effective January 1, 2019.

Charter Review Board

The Charter Review Board meets quarterly to review safe environment related policy and to advise the Bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by diocesan personnel.

The majority of the Charter Review Board members are made up of laypersons not employed by the diocese. Professions represented in the board include a member of law enforcement, licensed psychologist, medical professional, social worker, and a parish pastor.

Parish Audits

The Office of Safe Environment conducts visits to assess how parishes are implementing the safe environment policy and to give them an opportunity to ask questions and share their current best practices.