If you suspect abuse of a minor within Church ministry, your first call should be to civil authorities
The Catholic Church has had clergy, employees and volunteers in its service violate the sacred trust placed in them by children and youth and their families. This is a tragedy. The Church is committed to fighting the societal problem of sexual abuse of minors by: preventing abuse; intervening immediately; and responding to help all those affected by abuse with a message of healing and reconciliation.
The Archdiocese has had a zero tolerance approach to sexual abuse of minors in Church ministry for more than 20 years: a person accused of such abuse is removed immediately from ministry pending the outcome of an investigation. We cooperate immediately and fully with police and other civil authorities in all investigations. Victim assistance services are offered from the outset.
The Archdiocese first published a wide-ranging policy on prevention of and response to sexual misconduct in ministry in 1992. The policy was last revised in 2013, as Strengthening Trust. Archdiocesan policies and actions for more than two decades have shown: we do not tolerate sexual abuse of minors and we have demonstrated how swiftly we will act when this tragedy does occur.
The mission of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY) of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is to help provide safe environments for all children, youth and vulnerable adults in our local Church. Established in 2006, OPCY is charged with implementing the requirements of Articles 6, 12 and 13 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the policies of this Archdiocese concerning the protection of minors.
The work of this office has two primary components:
OPCY is also responsible for completing the annual compliance audit under the terms of the Charter.
Concerns about the Safety of Minors or Vulnerable Adults at a Parish or Catholic School?
If you suspect abuse, your first call should be to civil authorities (social service or law enforcement) in the county where the suspected abuse occurred/is occurring. A list of regularly updated county child protection phone numbers is available for download as a pdf. If a minor or vulnerable adult is in imminent danger, call 911.
Then, if the suspected abuse involves a member of the clergy, an employee or a volunteer at a parish or Catholic school, contact the pastor or school administrator as soon as possible. In this case, also contact the Archdiocese by calling the Chancellor for Civil Affairs or the Vicar General at 651-291-4400; after hours, please call 651-291-4464. If you or someone you know have been the victim of sexual misconduct in Church ministry, you are also encouraged to call the Director of Advocacy and Victim Assistance at 651-291-4497.
Please see the brochure How to Report Suspected Child Abuse for additional information.
Questions or Concerns about Safe Environment Policies at a Parish or Catholic School?
Contact us or call 651-291-4501
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops developed and approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People along with Essential Norms and Statement of Episcopal Commitment. The Charter was last revised in 2011. The Charter is available for you to download in pdf format. The Charter is also available in Spanish and Vietnamese.
Archdiocese Found in Full Compliance with Charter Requirements
Independent auditors found the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to be in full compliance with the Charter. This finding is based upon an onsite visit and an analysis of audit data collected from parishes and schools across the Archdiocese in 2012. More recently, the auditors have found the Archdiocese has complied with Charter data collection requirements, following the submission of required data in 2013. The Archdiocese is grateful to everyone in parishes, Catholic schools and other locations who work to ensure that the Charter requirements are implemented. We appreciate your efforts and your continued cooperation to help create and maintain safe environments in local Church ministry. Thank you!