"Like the existing system currently in use, this will be web based and have a toll-free hotline to make a report. Reports will be sent to members of my Independent Review Board who will be charged to immediately notify law enforcement for claims of abuse as well as the apostolic nuncio; the diplomatic representative to the U.S. of the Holy See. The system will be hosted on secured servers at the EthicsPoint facility and is not connected to the Archdiocese of Boston website, intranet system or the existing EthicsPoint system currently in use. We anticipate the system being up and running soon and will provide more information at that time," O'Malley said.
The cardinal said that the importance of "an effective reporting mechanism when a Bishop or Cardinal has failed in his duty to protect children or has himself abused children or vulnerable adults" was discussed at a February Vatican summit focused on prevent child abuse.
The bishop said he believes the U.S. bishops conference will introduce a national reporting procedure at some time, adding his desire to "address this need immediately for the Archdiocese of Boston."
In November, the U.S. bishops' conference was stopped by the Vatican from voting on proposals that would have created a nationalized third-party whistleblower system for reporting allegations against bishops, and a lay-led independent commission for investigating those allegations. The Vatican said it had not had sufficient time to review the proposals ahead of the scheduled vote.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced a whistleblower hotline for complaints against bishops in January, as well as a plan for the archdiocesan independent review board to receive complaints and forward them to appropriate civil authorities.
When O'Malley announced Boston's system, he also said that the Vatican's abuse summit had pointed to the importance of hearing from the victims of clerical sexual abuse.