Child and Youth Protection Communications Policy

Updated 4-12-2021

In accord with the Policy for the Protection of Children, Young People, and Vulnerable Adults (on the diocesan website), the Diocese of Saginaw is committed to providing accurate and timely information to the public regarding an allegation of child sexual abuse by clergy. 

Any public communication regarding the diocesan Safe Environment Program/Policy or allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy will be made by the Bishop, his Delegate for Safe Environment, or the diocesan Communications Office. 

If an allegation of child sexual abuse is received by the Diocese regarding one of its clerics, the Diocese will immediately notify law enforcement of the allegation. The Diocese will notify the public of the allegation and that an investigation is underway, unless requested by law enforcement not to do so. If an allegation is under investigation by civil authorities, the diocesan investigation will be suspended until civil authorities authorize the Diocese to proceed.

The Diocese uses independent private investigators for all investigations of allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric. 

The existence of the allegation, the name of the accused offender, and the accused’s ministerial status will be posted on the diocesan website. No further information will typically be provided by the Diocese until the investigation is complete.

If permitted by law enforcement, the Bishop will usually offer to meet with and address the needs of victims in coordination with the Victim Assistance Coordinator or the Delegate for Safe Environment. The Bishop will not publicize meetings with victims nor use such meetings to make statements regarding the credibility of an accusation.

The Bishop or his representative will take steps to assist and support parish and school communities directly affected by alleged ministerial misconduct involving minors. This outreach may be accomplished with the assistance of Catholic Family Service, and may include a parish and/or school meeting at the affected parish(es)/school(s), an offer of counseling to members of the affected community, an explanation of the response process, or a notification to the affected community of the action taken in response to the allegation.

If an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is determined to be crediblethe Bishop will publish an announcement on the website, and the notification will be sent to each priest and parish in the Diocese.

1A "Credible" allegation, accusation or information means that, under all the circumstances known at the time of the allegation, a prudent person would conclude that it is reasonable and probable that an incident occurred. In determining an allegation to be credible, the Diocese of Saginaw is not making a definitive statement regarding the certainty of the allegation or the guilt of the accused.