Wednesday, December 7, 2016

NEW YORK ARCHDIOCESE ADOPTS CCOG'S SEVEN POINT PLAN


Last month, the CCOG proposed a Seven Point Plan to the Archdiocese of Agana for handling victims of clergy sex abuse. More than anything, the plan was crafted as a way for the Archdiocese to mend its emaciated image by showing that the hierarchy of our diocese truly cared about reconciliation and healing. It also provided an alternative path to justice for the victims so that the Archdiocese would be able to avoid going to court for at least some of the sex abuse cases. 

The PDN published an article about the CCOG plan on November 16, 2016. JungleWatch posted about it here.

The key to the plan is the inclusion of professional third parties as both the "first responders" and official intermediaries between victims and clergy instead of the existing diocesan plan, which for the most part simply funnels victims back into the organization (the Archdiocese) which not only ignored the abuse for decades, but under Apuron, threatened to sue them, and under Hon (at least initially) chose not to give the victims any credence until faced with a law suit and the prospect of the legislature lifting the statute of limitations. 

The CCOG's SEVEN POINT PLAN is:

  • Petition the Guam Bar Association president to establish a lawyer referral service practice area for child sex abuse.
  • Petition the Victims Advocate Reaching Out, Child Protective Services and the Healing Hearts Crisis Center to establish user-friendly procedures to provide help to child sexual abuse victims.
  • Petition the Guam Legal Services Corp. to establish a victims of child sexual abuse contact office, which will be a central source for provision of information services available to victims.
  • Establish a nonprofit foundation, whose board of directors shall be comprised of Catholic laymen with no interests in any of the Archdiocese of Agana’s affairs, and who are professionals in the area of financial trust management. The foundation would solicit, maintain, and disburse funds pursuant to its rules, to help victims achieve closure for their past ordeals.
  • Petition the Guam Crime Stoppers to establish specific procedures to deal with child sexual abuse victims.
  • Establish a board of visitors comprised of Catholic laymen having no financial interest in archdiocesan affairs. The board shall conduct inquiries into archdiocesan matters as are appropriate to ensure implementation of plans, agreements and compliance with the provisions of recommendations one through five.
  • Commit funds collected through the Archdiocesan Annual Appeal to be allocated to the activities set forth in recommendations one through five.
Of course, the title of the post is facetious, but, according to this ABC news article, it appears that New York got smart early about the 46 sex abuse claims that have come forward in the last two months. Even though Guam is late to the party on this - having suffered through Apuron's threats to sue and Hon's initial refusal to recognize the victims - it is not too late. It is never too late when it comes to doing the right thing. 

3 comments:

  1. I hope that all these "petitions" have been written, that they are taken seriously, and that they are acted on expeditiously.

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    1. The recommendation was submitted to the archdiocese after Byrnes's appointment. Hon had no authority to act and the recommendation was probably put on hold until Byrnes took over. He has a lot to do, but I can't think of anything that would restore the faithful's trust in the local leadership than the action already taken by New York and recommended by the CCOG for our own diocese. I also see this is a tremendous cost saving measure since litigation is going to be costly.

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  2. the archdiocese of agaña needs to adopt this. the latest report in today's pdn has brought the issue much closer to me. i fear that the news will get worse before it gets better, but no matter how painful, the church on guam needs to face up to the truth of its past. silent no more.

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