Task force recommendations coming to fruition

| August 28, 2014

NienstedtBlI was pleased to announce the appointment of Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge Timothy O’Malley to the new position of Director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment for the Archdiocese.

The creation of this position was one of the chief recommendations made by the Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards Task Force last April. I believe that Judge O’Malley is exactly the right person to take on this essential role. He will bring together the work of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, the Promotion of Ministerial Standards, and the Office of Victim Advocacy and Assistance. Thus, all reporting, record-keeping, training, compliance, monitoring and communication related to safe environment and ministerial standards programs will be coordinated by one office as recommended by the Task Force and is reflective of recognized best practices across the country.

Judge O’Malley has a strong background of leadership and public service in local, state and federal law enforcement, including previously serving as Superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and prior to that as an FBI agent. He currently serves as the Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings. He will leave the bench and begin work as Director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment on Sept. 15. You can read more about him on the front page.

Just this week, we launched a new website: SafeCatholicSPM.org. This site is a public resource for information and education about sexual abuse prevention, intervention and response — in both Church ministry and in the broader society. Now at one site, you can learn about the signs of abuse, how to report it and how to help those who have been abused. It is meant to be a resource for victims who are hurting, survivors who are looking for healing and the general public seeking greater understanding of this difficult issue.

Finally, I want to say a word of gratitude to Father Charles Lachowitzer, who serves as Vicar General for the Archdiocese and my chief of staff. He volunteered to attend a mediation session last week in a lawsuit brought by a man who was sexually abused by a priest of this Archdiocese 40 years ago.

This was the first time anyone could remember a representative of the Archdiocese reaching out to a victim/survivor in this way, listening to his story of struggle and acknowledging his pain. The victim/survivor and the Archdiocese came to an agreement and settled the lawsuit the next day. I regret that the Archdiocese did not respond with such a message of apology and healing much earlier. I am, however, grateful that Father Lachowitzer was able to reach out and make a first step toward helping this person to heal.

I know we have a long way to go in regaining the trust of our clergy and Catholic faithful. But I do see signs that our actions are slowly setting us on the right course. It is a new day in terms of how we are doing things.

I believe we are headed in the right direction. My team and I are grateful for your support and the opportunity to serve you in Christ’s name.

God bless you!


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