"To victim-survivors: I recognize that you have been grievously wounded by those who should have been leading you closer to Christ. It is through meeting with you, talking with you and praying with you that my eyes are opened to the life-altering wounds you suffer. On behalf of our local Church, I am sorry that you were forced to endure such horrific, sinful and criminal actions, and I regret that some of you were not immediately heard, believed and accompanied toward healing."
– Archbishop Vigneron
The Reporting Process
This process is shared with the hope of healing for those who have been abused by members of the clergy – and in response to questions from the faithful.
Individuals with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or other Church representatives are urged to contact local law enforcement and/or the Michigan Attorney General’s Office at (844) 324-3374 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals also may contact the Archdiocese of Detroit by visiting protect.aod.org calling the toll-free, 24/7 victim assistance line at (866) 343-8055 or by emailing email@example.com. There are no time limits or restrictions on individuals wishing to report abuse.
Every complaint shared with the Archdiocese of Detroit, regardless of its source or the date of the alleged activity, is reported to civil authorities. No complaints are held back, pre-screened or disregarded.
The archdiocese fully cooperates with law enforcement. The canonical (Church) review process begins only when civil authorities have completed their investigation and/or have notified the archdiocese that it should proceed.
During any and all civil proceedings, accused priests, deacons and other Church leaders are responsible for their own legal expenses.
When the Archdiocese is notified by law enforcement that it may proceed with its review process, an independent investigator gathers details of the complaint and forwards the information to the Review Board.
The Review Board examines the information provided to determine whether or not the complaint can be considered credible. The Review Board considers a complaint to be credible if it has a “semblance of truth,” meaning it appears to be or could possibly be true.
No priest or deacon with a credible complaint against him is allowed to continue in public ministry during the time his case is pending with Church or civil authorities.
The Archdiocese remains in contact with restricted priests and deacons to verify compliance with the strict limitations on their public ministry.
If an allegation against a priest or deacon is found to be credible, his name is posted on the archdiocesan website at protect.aod.org. The archdiocese has publicly posted the names of restricted and/or removed priests and deacons for more than 15 years. Current practice also includes notifying the parishes in which the clergy in question served, as well as local media.
Credibly Accused Clergy
Send to Vatican
If the Review Board finds a complaint credible, it sends notice to Archbishop Vigneron, who forwards the case to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which reviews and renders judgments in all cases involving the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy.
Following the Vatican’s review and judgment, an individual who was found guilty may receive a permanent penalty of living a life of prayer and penance or dismissal from the clerical state, also called laicization. In either case, he may no longer represent himself as a priest or deacon, can no longer wear clerical attire and may not publicly exercise any form of Church ministry.