The sex-abuse Task Force established by Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger in April held its second meeting June 25 at Siena College, establishing four committees to address the most immediate and pressing concerns related to abuse and survivors: 

•  Survivors First Committee will focus on providing care and support for survivors and their families 

•  Pastoral Care Committee will focus on providing support for priests in ministry, diocesan and parish employees, and parishioners troubled by the abuse scandal 

•  Policy & Procedures Committee will review internal diocesan policies and protocols and revise according to the latest best practices 

•  Financial Accountability Committee will focus on transparency related to financial matters 

 The work of the Policy & Procedures Committee is already under way, with plans to have the diocesan Code of Conduct fully revised – with four parallel versions for clergy, lay employees, volunteers, and minors – ready by early August. The diocesan social media policy is also slated for revision in the near future. 

At the June 25 meeting, Task Force members also discussed a variety of issues that will come into play as the Aug. 14 deadline for the lookback window in Child Victims Act approaches, allowing formerly time-barred claims to be filed. Among those topics covered were communications, the Memorandum of Understanding the Diocese has with area district attorneys, the Diocesan Review Board, and training people to be able to provide pastoral support on a grassroots level out in the parishes. 

The Task Force has meetings scheduled for August and September. Committee meetings will be ongoing. — Mary DeTurris Poust