An independent reviewer for the Archdiocese of New York has found overall compliance with proper protocols for reports of sexual abuse, while offering recommendations to further strengthen the archdiocese’s response to abuse cases.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan commissioned retired federal judge Barbara Jones in September 2018 to give her “honest, objective assessment” of the diosesan protocols for responding to allegations of sexual abuse.
Among other findings, Jones found that no archdiocesan priest or deacon with a substantiated complaint of abuse of a minor is currently in ministry. She said the archdiocese’s current processes for dealing with abuse complaints are “working very well.”
“Overall, I have found that the Archdiocese has complied with the Charter in all material respects. It has faithfully followed its policies and procedures and responded appropriately to abuse complaints, and is committed to supporting victims-survivors of abuse,” Jones wrote in her report, while also citing several recommendations for “enhancements” to current practices.
In 1995 Jones was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She retired from the court in 2013.
Jones said in a Sept. 30 press conference that she received the archdiocese’s “total cooperation,” including complete access to all records, and conducted dozens of interviews, as well as performed an exhaustive review of documents, including “easily a couple of thousand” priest personnel files.
Nearly 300 lawsuits are pending against the eight dioceses in New York state, The Journal News reports, many of them filed in recent weeks, as the state of New York has created a one-year window extending the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims.
Jones has a long record of investigating complex organizations. She began her legal career in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, serving as a part of the agency’s Manhattan Strike Force in the 1970s. She was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York from 1977 to 1987, leading an organized crime unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, before becoming a high-ranking prosecutor in the New York district attorney’s office.
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