Dear IMS Family,
It is with a heavy heart that we write to you, in light of the recent news regarding the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which details child abuse cases in six Catholic dioceses. This is a horrible and inexcusable tragedy of great magnitude and words simply cannot express the pain we are all feeling for the victims and their families, who are first and foremost in our thoughts and prayers. And yet, whatever words we may use to describe the anguish of reading about these despicable acts, they can never capture the reality of suffering endured by victims of sexual abuse – suffering compounded by the woeful responses of bishops who failed to protect the people they were ordained to serve.
While in many ways we have seen that the policies and procedures established after 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy are working – according to the Pennsylvania grand jury report just two of the 300 priests named in the text were accused within the past decade, and both were reported to civil authorities – this excuses nothing and by no means gives us a reason to relax. Prevention comes from training and constant vigilance, and to that end, we are proud to say that IMS, in compliance with the Archdiocese and the Church, has put into place many layers of protection to safeguard our IMS students. To name just a few:
- All people working with our IMS students, including volunteers and local parish clergy, undergo criminal background checks and child abuse clearances.
- All IMS staff and volunteers complete Safe Environment training programs and Mandatory Reporter training programs and they are required to recognize, respond and report suspicions of abuse.
- All IMS students in grades K-8 receive age appropriate abuse prevention education.
You can see the complete range of reforms and policies that have been put into place to prevent child abuse here: childyouthprotection.org and archphila.org/archdiocesan-offices/office-of-investigations/. In addition, there are several resources available to allow those who have experienced abuse to come forward and also for people to report suspected abuse. These resources are listed at the end of this letter.
With the safety and protection of our students being of primary importance, our path forward will remain focused on ensuring that our children are protected. We will also not forget the responsibility that we have as Catholic educators – to help each other, and the children who we live to serve, get to heaven.
So, as we prepare to welcome back our students this fall, let us all renew our commitment to our mission of bringing the Gospel values of love and service to our children and to our communities. Let us remember that education is liberation and can provide knowledge and power to those that are victims of these recent acts, and heinous acts throughout the world. Let us treat each child that crosses our path this year with love and kindness and model the true meaning of our faith. Let us continue to pray for, and to work for, our students and our families and for the healing for all victims of child abuse in our state and throughout the world.
Rick Auletta, President
Mamie Doyle Mannella, Chief Operating Officer
Greg Vincent, Chief Academic Officer
Child Abuse Resources
If you suspect child abuse, call ChildLine, the 24-hour statewide system operated by the PA Department of Human Services, toll free at 800-932-0313.
To make a report:
To report an allegation of sexual abuse, immediately contact your local law enforcement agency and/or the Archdiocesan Office of Investigations at 1-888-930-9010. Mandated reporters are required to call ChildLine, which is staffed by the Department of Public Welfare at 1-800-932-0313.
To report a violation of The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries:
Contact the Archdiocesan Office for Investigations at 1-888-930-9010.
For those seeking resources, support or assistance:
Victim services and referrals are available through the Victim Assistance Office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at 1-888-800-8780 or www.childyouthprotection.org.
For those seeking rape/sexual assault counseling:
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
For those seeking community crisis response assistance:
Keystone Crisis Intervention Team