The diocese has a Victims Assistance Coordinator, a clinical psychologist, who receives reports of sexual abuse. This coordinator can be reached at (858) 490-8353 or by email.
- Interviews the person making the report and gathers the pertinent information. The coordinator may connect the caller to resources, such as counseling or therapy, if it’s determined that the person could benefit from them.
- Advises the person to contact the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in the locale where the alleged abuse occurred.
- Gives the initial information to the Chancery at the diocese. A private investigator, retained by the diocese, investigates the allegation, reviewing records and interviewing all parties involved.
The investigator gives an Independent Review Board his or her findings. The board currently consists of a survivor of sexual abuse, a retired judge, two attorneys (one a prosecutor with experience in sex abuse crimes), a priest, a layman expert on Church law, a counselor and a social worker.
The board evaluates the information and makes a determination about the credibility of the allegation, a decision that is forwarded to the Bishop for action. A finding that a priest has sexually abused a minor means that the priest will be removed from public ministry automatically.
If the allegation is found to be credible, the victim may receive financial compensation, in addition to other assistance.
This process at the diocese occurs independently of any action taken by law enforcement authorities, including investigation and prosecution.