“We hope that this process will bring healing for all victims and confirm our commitment to accountability and justice.”
Burbidge and Knestout said they had both met with victims and seen the effect “unforgettable” abuse had throughout a person’s life. Both bishops said that they valued the opportunity to meet with survivors and to “support them in their journey toward healing.”
In September, prior to the announcement of Herring’s investigation, both the Diocese of Arlington and the Diocese of Richmond issued press releases saying they would conduct a review of all diocesan clergy files. Additionally, the bishops said that they would be releasing a list of all clergy with “credible and substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against a minor” made against them.
While this process remains ongoing, the bishops said they would “ensure it does not impede the attorney general’s investigation.”
Currently, policy in both dioceses requires allegations of the sexual abuse of minors to be reported to the police. The allegations are also presented to a majority-lay diocesan review boards in both dioceses.
Clergy, along with parish staff and volunteers who work with children, are now trained on how to identify “suspicious behavior” and how to report allegations of abuse.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
The two bishops encouraged anyone aware of any sort of misconduct or abuse invovling either a member of the clergy or staff associated with the dioceses to both call the police and call the state’s clerical abuse hotline.
Victims of abuse were asked to contact their diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator to arrange a meeting with their bishop, to make a formal complaint against their abuser, and to receive pastoral and emotional support.
Priests across the two dioceses read a statement at all Masses over the weekend about both the investigation as well as the dioceses’ promises to cooperate in full.