Diocesan Response to the Abuse Crisis
Following the listening sessions held throughout the diocese in October, Bishop Barry C. Knestout renewed his commitment to leading the Diocese of Richmond with transparency, faith and direct action. A webpage has been created to help the faithful stay informed of the diocese’s response to the present crisis in the Church. A video interview with Bishop as he answers the faithful’s most frequently asked questions, a timeline of actions taken within the diocese to address the crisis, and resources to learn how Bishop Knestout is answering the call for accountability is available at www.richmonddiocese.org/diocese-response/: CLICK HERE.
Visit the new Diocesan Web Page outlining the Child Protection/Safe Environment Program
The Diocese is committed to ensuring that all institutions and ministries provide safe and nurturing environments for children, youth and vulnerable individuals. This program incorporates the standards outlined in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. CLICK HERE for the page
Bishop Knestout encourages anyone aware of sexual abuse of minors on the part of clergy or staff of our diocese to notify civil authorities, call the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064, and reach out to the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Jennifer Sloan at 1-877-887-9603.
Joint Statement from Bishop Michael F. Burbidge (Diocese of Arlington) and Bishop Barry C. Knestout (Diocese of Richmond) in Response to the Attorney General’s Investigation
Today, Attorney General Mark Herring publicly announced his office’s investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy in Virginia. The Diocese of Arlington and the Diocese of Richmond assure the faithful and the public that we are cooperating with the Attorney General’s office. Any instance of child sexual abuse is intolerable and gravely immoral. We hope that this process will bring healing for all victims and confirm our commitment to accountability and justice. Having met with victims, we know that such abuse is unforgettable, and many carry
that burden with them throughout their lives. We continue to welcome the opportunity to meet personally with victims, to hear their stories, and to support them in their journey toward healing.
Prior to being contacted by the Attorney General, both dioceses began internal investigative processes using independent investigators tasked with reviewing all diocesan clergy files. We promised to publish a list of all priests and deacons against whom credible and substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made, and we renew that promise. We will continue these efforts and ensure it does not impede the Attorney General’s investigation.
In keeping with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, established in 2002, we report every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor to legal authorities. Each accusation is also brought before a diocesan Review Board, composed mostly of lay people. We thoroughly vet clergy and staff and train them to identify suspicious behavior and report any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Volunteers who interact with children also go through this process.
We encourage anyone aware of misconduct or abuse on the part of clergy or staff of either diocese to notify legal authorities and utilize the hotline established by the Attorney General: http://www.virginiaclergyhotline.com/ In addition, victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Arlington or the Diocese of Richmond are invited to contact the respective diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator who is available to help victims/survivors make a formal complaint of abuse to the diocese, arrange a personal meeting with the bishop or his representative, and to obtain support for the needs of the individual and families.
The diocesan child protection policies are online at: