On Feb. 19, 2019, the Colorado Attorney General, the three Colorado Dioceses and Robert Troyer entered into an agreement giving Mr. Troyer full access to all the dioceses’ files concerning the sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests. Where he has questions, Mr. Troyer has the opportunity to conduct interviews, in appropriate circumstances, to determine if abuse has occurred. After his final review and interviews are completed, Mr. Troyer will release a report to the public. When completed, the report will be available online at www.healing.dioceseofpueblo.org.
The goal of this report is threefold. First, we want to be sure there are no known or suspected abusers in active ministry. This independent review gives us this assurance. The second goal is transparency with regard to abuse in the Church and the Church’s historic and current response to reports of abuse. Mr. Troyer has had access to all the dioceses’ files and will detail his findings in the report to be released. This review is being done by an independent third party, so the public can rest assured that nothing was shaded or concealed. Third, Mr. Troyer has performed an analysis of the dioceses’ current policies and procedures for prevent- ing abuse and responding to allegations of abuse. Mr. Troyer’s review includes a review of these policies.
The report will highlight several items. It will identify individuals against whom substantiated allegations of abuse have been made by name. It will include de- tails of the abuse, including the assignment of the abuser and the times during which abuse occurred. It will also detail any reports of abuse to the Church, when the Church received the reports, when the Church received the reports, and what action the Church took in response. The report will also provide similar in- formation on misconduct with minors — inappropriate but not illegal behavior — but the names of those who engaged in inappropriate misconduct was not in cluded. Finally, the report will include an analysis of the Church’s current policies and procedures for the prevention of and response to allegations of abuse. The report will not include the names of any victims.
The independent voluntary reparations program is a means for victims of abuse as a minor to receive compensation from an independent expert claims administrator. No matter how long ago the abuse occurred and even if the victim’s claim would be barred by Colorado law, any victim can participate and receive compensation. Key components of the program are:
The program is entirely independent from, and free from the influence of, the Colorado dioceses.
It is being overseen by an independent board, chaired by former U.S. Senator Hank Brown.
It is entirely voluntary. Victims choose whether or not to participate and do not need to make that decision until they know how much compensation they would receive under the program.
Compensation is determined solely by the independent claims administrators. There is no appeal to the Colorado dioceses. Victims are free to accept or reject the award made by the administrator. The dioceses, however, are required to accept and pay the administrator’s award for any victim that chooses to participate. There is no restriction on a victim’s ability to speak publicly about the abuse, this program or the award that is made. To protect the privacy of victims, however, the program and the Colorado dioceses agree to keep the victim’s information
strictly confidential, except to fulfill their legal obligation to report abuse to local law enforcement, the Attorney General’s Office and the special master.
• All victims who come forward into the program will be treated with dignity and respect.
• The independent administrators alone determine the amount of compensation a victim will receive. The administrators’ award is not subject to appeal to anyone, including the oversight committee or the Colorado dioceses. The award is binding on the Colorado dioceses, but a victim is free to accept or reject the award.
This new program is another step in the ongoing work of the Church to take care of this historic problem. It is part of a conscientious effort by the Church to facilitate healing through a voluntary program. The program is created out of a deep respect and compassion for the pain that victims and their families have endured and a sense of responsibility to do more to assist them.