The following are statements from the California Catholic Conference (CCC) and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from April 29 regarding comments made by attorney Jeff Anderson in a press conference held the same day.
California Catholic Conference statement:
Contrary to statements by Attorney Jeff Anderson today, the ANTI-SLAPP court ruling supported the California Catholic Conference and Dioceses of California’s position against Jeff Andersons’ claims of nuisance. The court dismissed five of the eight claims made by Jeff Anderson. The Court reaffirmed that Anderson’s client had no claim for nuisance. The California Dioceses have established broad policies and programs at parishes, schools and ministries to report allegations of abuse to law enforcement, prevent and protect against misconduct and to help support victim-survivors of abuse. The failures of the Church to address the issue of abuse in the past caused great harm and the trust in the Church has been broken. Victim-survivors such as Mr. Emmens are rightfully angry for the harm that was inflicted by members of the Church in the past. That is why the Catholic Church in California has taken responsibility not just in words but in action and will continue to take the necessary steps to support victim-survivors, cooperate with law enforcement and help make our parishes, schools and ministries safe places for all.
Archdiocese of Los Angeles statement:
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has had a long-standing commitment to supporting victims of abuse, the protection of children and the vulnerable, and the prevention of abuse and misconduct in our parishes, schools and ministries. The Archdiocese was one of the first dioceses in the nation to publish a comprehensive report about the failures of the past to address the issue of abuse which included a list of names of clergy accused of abuse, whether living or deceased.
The 2002 Report to the People of God had been updated throughout the years with the most recent update published in December 2018.
Of the 307 names that Jeff Anderson has released concerning the Archdiocese, only one was a priest of the Archdiocese who had not been disclosed in the Archdiocese’s public releases because that one priest was not accused of sexual abuse. All the other individuals listed have been disclosed, had no affiliation with the Archdiocese, or no allegation of abuse against them was known to the Archdiocese while they were affiliated with the Archdiocese.
The Archdiocese remains committed to continued transparency and will continue to inform our communities of allegations of abuse and misconduct through our reporting efforts and announcements. In addition to all of our abuse prevention and protection efforts at all parishes, schools, any person who is accused of sexual misconduct against a minor is immediately reported to law enforcement and removed pending the outcome of the investigation. Announcements are also made at the parish and school where the accused had served.
Since 2002, the Archdiocese’s strict policies and programs for the protection of minors and the vulnerable have been effective in ensuring that cases of sexual misconduct involving current minors are a rare occurrence in the Archdiocese.
Some highlights of those efforts include the following:
- Archdiocesan parishes and schools have established Safeguard the Children Committees, and adults who supervise children are required to undergo VIRTUS abuse prevention training and submit to fingerprinting and background checks and screening. More than 329,000 adults have been trained in abuse prevention and reporting, and more than 168,000 adults who have direct supervisory roles with minors have been fingerprinted and undergone background checks.
- Every year, all children and youth in Catholic schools or in religious education programs participate in age-appropriate abuse prevention training programs. These programs enable children and parents to understand boundaries and warning signs, and they are given the tools they need to report instances where they are made to feel uncomfortable, scared or confused.
- The Archdiocese has implemented a “zero tolerance” policy, which means that anyone — clergy or lay person — found to have abused a minor at any time in their life may not serve in any capacity in the Archdiocese.
For more information on the Archdiocese’s continuous efforts to support victims, report misconduct and prevent abuse visit protect.la-archdiocese.org.