It is the mission of the Review Board to serve the people of God in the Archdiocese of Omaha by assisting the archbishop in his responsibilities for the protection of youth. The board is charged with advising the archbishop in the work of the just handling of allegations of sexual abuse, the prevention of further abuse, the healing all those have been injured, and the re-creation of a sense of trust among the faithful and larger community.
The Review Board for the archdiocese of Omaha was established in January of 2003 by Archbishop Elden Curtiss in response to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ approval of two documents, “The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” (June, 2002) and “The Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons,” (December, 2002). The Review Board was selected through the efforts of a lay task force. Members were recommended to the archbishop by pastors in July 2002. The task force functioned autonomously through its entire process.
On December 16, 2002, the task force presented Archbishop Curtiss with a slate of 11 individuals, drawn from more than 100 interested lay people from across the archdiocese. The archbishop accepted the entire slate. On January 16, 2003, Archbishop Curtiss publicly announced the membership of the Review Board in a news conference held at the chancery. All recommended candidates were present and accepted the invitation to serve on the Review Board. The first meeting of the Review Board was held on April 14, 2003.
The Review Board is responsible to the archbishop in providing consultation to him in his service to those have been injured by sexual abuse, the alleged offenders, and the people of the archdiocese. The general responsibilities of the board are to:
- provide consultation to the Archbishop in his assessment of the validity of allegations of sexual abuse of minors; • monitor the implementation and application of the Archdiocesan Policy for the Protection of Minors to assure compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Essential Norms;
- assist the archbishop in the oversight of the assistance coordinator position;
- provide consultation to the archbishop regarding an offender’s suitability for ministry;
- review with the archbishop all programs, policies and procedures that relate to the charter within the archdiocese;
- Offer advice on all aspects of cases of sexual abuse of minors, whether retrospectively or prospectively.