Archdiocese hires outside firm for clergy file review

| November 14, 2013

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is retaining Kinsale Management Consulting to conduct a third-party review of its clergy files.

The move is part of the archdiocese’s plan to ensure a comprehensive approach to address the issue of clergy sexual misconduct and fulfills Archbishop John Nienstedt’s stated intention to have an outside firm review the files, the archdiocese said in a statement Nov. 14.

”We are confident in the credentials and relevant expertise of Kinsale Management Consulting to conduct a thorough review of our clergy files,” said Dominican Father Reginald Whitt, the vicar of ministerial standards.  “Our number one goal was to find someone with extensive experience and expertise nationally in this area, and Kinsale certainly has those qualities.”

Another level of accountability

Kinsale was founded by Kathleen McChesney, the former No. 3 official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection, where she developed and oversaw a national mechanism to ensure that all Catholic dioceses complied with civil laws and internal policies relative to the prevention, reporting and response to the sexual abuse of minors.

Kinsale’s review will add another level of accountability, the archdiocese said, and further serve its primary goal of protecting minors.  The file review process is slated to begin in early December and will start with a review of all clergy in active ministry. Once the Kinsale team is on board and can do an initial assessment, it will be able to provide an estimate of the timeframe required to complete the work.

“Dr. McChesney and her team bring an extraordinary depth of experience, background in law enforcement and the investigation of crimes against children, and dedication to their work in both religious and secular organizations,” Archbishop Nienstedt said. “Their expertise and leadership in addressing the problem of abuse of minors will ensure that Kinsale’s review of our clergy files will be objective and thorough.”

“With the benefit of this level of review, we will proceed confidently with ongoing disclosure,” he said.

McChesney has 30 years of law enforcement experience. She created the FBI’s Office of Law Enforcement Coordination to establish more productive relationships between the FBI and the nation’s 18,000 police agencies, and the National Intel Share project to promote information sharing among the nation’s 680,000 law enforcement officers. She managed the FBI’s international operations in 44 foreign countries and spearheaded the FBI’s efforts to add 11 additional offices through interactions with the U.S. Department of State and Congress.

Kinsale most recently completed a review for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice regarding the incidence of sexual abuse of youth incarcerated in its facilities. The review resulted in a public report and recommendations for the protection of youth.

Action to meet goals

Archbishop Nienstedt said the hiring of a third-party firm for the clergy file review will contribute to prudent and ongoing disclosure. The archdiocese also recently confirmed its decision to disclose the names, locations and status of all living priests of the archdiocese who have substantiated claims against them of sexual abuse of a minor, regardless of where they are currently residing.

As outlined in the archbishop’s Nov. 7 column in The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocese has pledged to accomplish four goals: creating safe environments for children; caring for those who have been harmed by a member of the Church; facilitating a healing process for the local Church in order to restore trust with the Catholic faithful; and restoring trust with clergy who are serving with honor.

“With the hiring of Kinsale, the archdiocese continues to fulfill its promise to take action to address the questions and concerns raised by our communities,” the archdiocese said. “Kinsale’s work will assist us in meeting these goals.”

“As archbishop, I am responsible for addressing these issues and I take this matter very seriously,” Archbishop Nienstedt said. “Along with the work of the independent task force, our commitment to disclosure and the critical review of our monitoring program, Kinsale’s thorough file review will assist us in creating a new day for this archdiocese in our work to create safe environments where the Gospel of Jesus Christ can flourish. Nothing is more important.”

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