In an ongoing effort to strengthen child protection policies, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence and the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General have established an enhanced protocol for reporting allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Under this strengthened protocol, the Diocese of Providence has agreed to notify the Attorney General's office of any allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
It is the clear practice of the Diocese to report every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor to law enforcement. The additional step of notifying the Attorney General's office provides supplemental transparency in keeping with the Diocese's ongoing effort to ensure a safe environment.
"The Letter of Understanding with the Office of the Attorney General concerning the reporting of incidents of sexual abuse of minors comes after many months, even years, of reflection and discussion. I am grateful to the Attorney General and his staff, and the staff of the Diocese of Providence, for their commitment to this task. The agreement affirms and builds upon the longstanding policy and practice of the Diocese of Providence to report each and every allegation of sexual misconduct with minors to law enforcement officials. I believe that the new agreement will serve as a useful model and an inspiration for other organizations in reporting such incidents as well," said Bishop Thomas J. Tobin.
"This new step strengthens existing reporting practices by the Diocese, which in turn will ensure greater transparency and a more robust investigation, and if appropriate, prosecution of individuals who sexually abuse children," said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. "I am very appreciative of the Diocese, and in particular, Bishop Tobin, for their work on the Letter of Understanding, and more importantly, for the recognition that the sexual abuse by a member of the Catholic Church cannot and will not be tolerated."
"The sexual abuse of minors is a grave concern, a sin and a crime, in our society, and in the Church. In recent years we have made significant progress in addressing this widespread problem, but we cannot stop or grow comfortable now. The Diocese of Providence renews its commitment to eliminate sexual abuse of minors by any member of the Church; to provide assistance and care to victims and their families; and to treat all individuals with the justice and love, the care and compassion demanded by our Faith," added Bishop Tobin.