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Catholic Bishop abuse reporting service lauched

In response to a directive from Pope Francis, the Catholic dioceses in the United States have launched a “public, stable, and easily accessible” system for reporting abuse by bishops.

The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service (CBAR) was launched nationwide on Monday.

“The new resource gives everyone an easily accessible and straightforward option to report the sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult by a bishop, or a bishop’s mishandling of a case of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult,” according to a release from the Diocese of Erie.

There is a new link on the diocese’s website for reporting abuse by bishops. It takes users to https://reportbishopabuse.org.

“Those making reports will be taken to a third-party site run by Convercent, Inc.,” according to the release. “It is not connected to the Diocese of Erie or to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

“Those wishing to make a report also may do so by calling the toll-free number — 1-800-276-1562,” according to the release.

That information joins contacts for reporting abuse to the diocese, to independent investigators retained by the diocese, law enforcement, and children and youth services.

“It is very important that reports are going to be handled by an outside company,” Erie Bishop the Most Rev. Lawrence Persico said. “People need to have confidence their reports will be handled by professionals with complete confidentiality.”

Reports will be sent “unrevised” to the archbishop — known as a metropolitan — who presides over the ecclesiastical province. The Diocese of Erie is part of the Province of Philadelphia.

Reports regarding a metropolitan will be directed to the senior bishop within the province, instead of the metropolitan.

Another copy will be sent to a “designated qualified layperson.”

“The report will then be sent, along with an initial assessment by the metropolitan, to the apostolic nuncio — the diplomatic representative of the Holy See,” according to the release. That is Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who resides in Washington D.C.

“Law enforcement authorities also will be informed of any criminal misconduct,” according to the release.

Those who make reports will be given access numbers and passwords to track the status of the cases.

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