Since April 2002 the Diocese has maintained a toll-free number 1-800-964-6588 connected to Barbara Gondek, the Diocese’s Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, to whom allegations of abuse can be made and who, in turn, reports such allegations to the appropriate civil authorities and to the Diocese.
Ms. Gondek also informs callers of their right to contact directly County Prosecutors and/or the NJ Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). Its purpose is to remove any reporting activity from the Church directly by contracting with an independent third party, thereby insuring objectivity and accuracy. This also recognizes that civil authorities, not the Church, are best equipped to investigate these matters.
- take all necessary steps to see to it that the matter has been referred to the toll-free number and the designated liaison in order to ensure that all appropriate law enforcement and child protective agencies have been informed of the complaint or allegation and that there has been compliance with all applicable reporting statutes;
- In accordance with the requirements of applicable civil law, the Diocese will continue to report incidents where there is reasonable cause to believe that a minor has been subjected to abuse to the appropriate governmental authorities. Additionally, reports made to the Diocese through the toll-free number – even reports from those who are no longer minors – are referred to the appropriate county prosecutor as a matter of course. with the county prosecutors, to which the Diocese is a signatory, further facilitates the reporting of any act of child abuse to local law-enforcement authorities. The Diocese will fully cooperate with all investigations of abuse consistent with the law;
- formally refer the matter, through the Coordinator/Vice Chancellor, to the Bishop, the Victim Assistance Coordinator, the Vicar for Clergy and diocesan counsel;
- unless particular circumstances make it clearly unnecessary, make immediate arrangements, when the accused is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese, to remove the accused from further contact with the person making the accusation, the alleged victim, and all minors;
- refer the matter immediately to the Diocesan Review Board;
- if the accused is a religious, contact the individual’s Provincial or other superior and seek compliance with the Revised Guidelines by the religious congregation, and
- implement, where appropriate, a parish outreach program so as to alleviate the impact of a situation where it is necessary to remove someone from ministry