Suspected Abuse? Call the Police. You and Your Bishop Both.

Suspected Abuse? Call the Police. You and Your Bishop Both. February 11, 2016

There are a couple stories circulating to the effect that new Catholic bishops are being told they don’t necessarily need to contact the authorities when they are presented with evidence of child abuse.  The Guardian reports it here, and John Allen from Crux discusses it here.  Reporting on religion is notoriously unreliable, and I’m in no position to confirm or clarify these reports.  But whenever such nonsense gets promulgated, I’m here to remind you: Tell the police.

It is not your job to be investigator, judge, and jury.  If someone’s in immediate danger, of course you’ll dial 911.  When that’s not the case? Pick up the phone, call the city or county police office during business hours, and make arrangements to file the appropriate report.  It’s okay to call and say, “I’m not even sure a crime took place, but –.”  The police are used to getting these calls.  It is their job to sort through the information and figure out how to proceed.

If it makes you more comfortable, first describe what you know about the possible crime, and wait to name the perpetrator until you’ve determined the action was in fact criminal.  But call the police.  Not your friend who’s a cop, not your neighbor, not the lady at church whose kid is going to the police academy.  Call your police station, and make an official report.  Even if the particular incident is not one that will result in a conviction, it can become part of a collection of evidence that paints the complete picture.

Read the whole thing at  If you live in the US, Canada, or some other place with a working legal system, use it.

File:A clergyman visiting a journalist in prison Wellcome V0050331.jpg

Artwork: [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons – visit the link for more info.

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