TO REPORT ABUSE
Church Personnel/Volunteers must follow the policies of the Diocese of Paterson in handling allegations of sexual abuse and reporting such allegations. The policy includes our obligations as citizens of New Jersey, our Memorandum of Understanding with the Attorney General and the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All allegations of child abuse of minors shall be reported immediately and without consultation with any supervisor, pastor or administrator to the Division of Youth and Family Services and the County prosecutor. Confidentiality does not apply to cases of child abuse (physical, sexual or emotional).
IF YOU SUSPECT A CHILD IS IN IMMINENT DANGER FROM ABUSE,
PLEASE CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY.
If you receive information from any source so as to give you reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect, IMMEDIATELY report that suspicion to the Department of Children and Families by calling the abuse hotline number, 1-877-NJABUSE (1-877-652-2873).
Next, after your report to the hotline number, you must IMMEDIATELY notify our Diocesan Attorney, Ken Mullaney (973-777-8818, ext. 240 or firstname.lastname@example.org). He will then notify the appropriate county prosecutor with jurisdiction over the matter. However, if there is reason to believe that the criminal conduct is continuing, about to occur, or has recently occurred, or where it is possible that criminal evidence could be destroyed or lost due to the slightest delay, then you must report this immediately to the county prosecutor, rather than to our Diocesan Attorney. Report directly to the prosecutor and then notify the Diocesan Attorney. County prosecutor contact numbers are as follows:
- Morris County, (973) 285-6200
- Sussex County, (973) 383-1570
- Passaic County, (973) 881-4800
“Immediately” in the above paragraphs means that it must be done without any delay whatsoever. This will allow you to follow the law and avoid the legal consequences of a delay in reporting. We have to go the extra mile to protect all children. The obligation to report abuse is not subject to the consent of the victim, parent, legal guardian, or person aware of the abuse.
Please Note: The Diocese does not investigate sexual abuse allegations. Investigation is the job of law enforcement, as outlined above. The Diocese does have a role in helping victims of sexual abuse.
Victims may contact one of the Diocesan Response Officers:
- Msgr. James T. Mahoney, (973) 777-8818 X 205
- Sister Mary Edward Spohrer, S.C.C. – 973-777-8818, X248
The Diocese also has a professional Victim Assistance Coordinator:
- Ms. Peggy Zanello, (973) 879-1489
St. Elizabeth’s contact: Dick Wertz 973-927-7077, DickWertz@stelizabethschurch.org