Norms for the Protection of Minors

Following the directives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the laws of the Republic of the Philippines, the Prelature of Opus Dei in the Philippines has adopted measures to insure the protection of minors in all its activities. To report an instance of abuse of a minor by personnel of the Prelature, please contact the Child Protection Coordinator at +63 917 518 2333.

Opus Dei in the Philippines
Opus Dei - Norms for the Protection of Minors

NORMS FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF

CASES OF ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS

ATTRIBUTED TO FAITHFUL OF THE PRELATURE OF OPUS DEI

IN THE PHILIPPINES


I. Nature of these Norms and Scope of Application

1. Nature of these norms
2. Scope of application

II. Competent Ecclesiastical Authority and Auxiliary Organisms

3. Competent ecclesiastical authority
4. Advisory Committee
5. Coordinator for the Protection of Minors

III. Interests that need to be Protected

6. Goods that need to be protected

IV. Manner of Making and Receiving Accusations

7. Manner of making and receiving accusations
8. Assistance to presumed victims
9. Informing the civil authorities

V. The Preliminary Investigation

10. Opening the preliminary investigation
11. Conduct of the preliminary investigation
12. Conclusions and recommendations of the preliminary investigation
13. Closing of the preliminary investigation by the Vicar

VI. Pastoral response upon concluding the Preliminary Investigation

14. Pastoral response as regards the alleged victim
15. Pastoral response as regards the accused
16. Pastoral response as regards other affected persons

VII. Canonical Response to Confirmed Crimes of Sexual Abuse of Minors

Appendix I

A. The crime of sexual abuse of minors: Notion in Civil Law and in Canon Law
B. Credible Accusations
C. Imputability
D. Prescription of the crime of sexual abuse of minors in Canon Law and in Civil Law

Appendix II

Information regarding an alleged sexual abuse of a minor attributed to a faithful of the Prelature of Opus Dei in the Philippines

Appendix III

Pertinent Republic of the Philippines Laws on Sexual Abuse of Minors and the Duty to Report


NORMS FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF

CASES OF ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS

ATTRIBUTED TO FAITHFUL OF THE PRELATURE OF OPUS DEI

IN THE PHILIPPINES


In keeping with the orientations of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, contained in the Circular Letter of 3 May 2011, Bishops and their equivalent should have clear and coordinated procedures when they have to deal with cases of accusations of abuse. The norms promulgated by the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei in the Philippines are now presented.

I. NATURE OF THESE NORMS AND SCOPE OF APPLICATION

1. Nature of these norms

1.1. The Catholic Church and, therefore, the circumscription of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei in the Philippines (henceforth, the Prelature) consider the sexual abuse of minors a grave violation of Christian principles that should not be tolerated. This crime is particularly serious when it is committed by persons who have committed themselves to help others to follow Jesus Christ and his teachings more closely.

1.2. These norms are situated within the class of norms for the application of laws of a higher rank (cf. Code of Canon Law [CIC], cc.31 & 34). They are an aid for the application of norms of universal law contained in the CIC, c.1717, and in the motu proprio Sacramentum sanctitatis tutela (Sst) of 30 April 2001, updated on 21 May 2010, regarding the investigation of accusations of sexual abuse of minors.

1.3. They are based basically on the indications given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in the Circular Letter of 3 May 2011, while awaiting more particular norms still to be issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippine

2. Scope of Application

2.1. These norms are applicable to those who, at the moment when an accusation is made, are faithful of the Prelature.

2.1.1. The scope of the application of these norms to the lay faithful is limited to those cases in which the accusations concern actions done while carrying out, under the authority of the Regional Vicar, an apostolic activity of the Prelature in which Christian formation or spiritual direction is imparted (cf. Codex iuris particularis seu Statuta Praelaturae Sanctae Crucis et Operis Dei [Statuta], nn. 1 and 121 §2).

2.2. They are not applicable to:

2.2.1. The lay faithful of the Prelature in their professional or personal activities.
2.2.2. The lay employees and volunteers who work in institutions or projects wherein the Prelature is responsible solely for the spiritual aspects of such institutions and projects. These institution have their proper norms and procedures and are responsible, before their organs of government and before the social group for which they work (parents of students, etc.), for the comportment of their employees.

2.3. By sexual abuse is understood, in accord with Sst, art. 6, the crime against the 6th Commandment of the Decalogue committed with a person less than 18 years old by a faithful mentioned in article 2.1.

II. COMPETENT ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY AND AUXILIARY ORGANISMS

3. Competent Ecclesiastical Authority

3.1. The ecclesiastical authority responsible for the investigation, which these norms deal with, is the Regional Vicar of the Prelature (henceforth, the Vicar), as the Ordinary of this circumscription of the Prelature (cf. Codex iuris particularis seu Statuta Praelaturae Sanctae Crucis et Operis Dei [Statuta], n.151, §1).

3.2. Although—in accord with universal law and these norms—other persons may collaborate in the investigation and render opinion, they cannot replace the discernment and the potestas regiminis of the Vicar, keeping firmly to the fact that the penal action, after counting on the opinion of two experts, will be presented before the Tribunal of the Prelature, whose seat is in Rome.

4. Advisory Committee

4.1. There should be an Advisory Committee, which shall be a consultative organ of the Vicar in what refers to the previous investigation of the accusation of sexual abuse of minors against faithful of the Prelature. The competence of this Committee are:

4.1.1. To review and propose the updating of these norms.
4.1.2. To advise the Regional Vicar, together with the Promoter of Justice of the Prelature in that circumscription, in the evaluation of the charges and in the determination of the opportuneness in each case of the cautionary measures foreseen in the CIC, c. 1722, in order to safeguard the common good. According to Sst, art. 19, such measures may be imposed once the preliminary investigation is initiated.
4.1.3. To advise the Regional Vicar regarding all matters related to abuses, in order to propose measures aimed at the protection of minors.

4.2. The Advisory Committee is composed of at least five members. They should be persons of exemplary conduct and right criterion, in full communion with the Church.

4.2.1. The majority should be lay faithful, who are not fully dedicated to tasks of the Prelature. The President of the Committee shall be a priest of the Prelature with several years of pastoral experience and of good criteria; furthermore, at least one member should have experience in handling matters of sexual abuse of minors.
4.2.2. To the extent possible, among the members of the Committee there should be professionals of the following disciplines: Canon Law, Penal or Civil Law, psychology, moral theology or ethics.
4.2.3. The Vicar shall appoint the members of the Committee for a period of five years, which are renewable. There is no objection for the Vicar to ask a member of his Council to attend the meetings of the Advisory Committee.

4.3. It is good for the Promoter of Justice to attend the meetings of the Advisory Committee.

5. Coordinator for the Protection of Minors

5.1. The Vicar shall appoint a Coordinator for the Protection of Minors (henceforth, Coordinator), who shall be responsible for receiving—should they occur—accusations of sexual abuse of minors against faithful of the Prelature (cf. art.2.1). There is no objection for one of the members of the Advisory Committee being appointed as Coordinator, but this is not necessary.

5.2. The Coordinator should receive such accusations with respect, understanding and compassion; he should know how to listen, to be sensitive to the needs of the accuser and to act with tact and impartiality.

5.3. He should be accessible in the website of Opus Dei in the internet (www.opusdei.ph) and in every Center of the Prelature, the telephone number of the Coordinator should be available.

5.4. Should the Coordinator be temporarily impeded from carrying out his functions, the Vicar shall appoint a substitute Coordinator.

5.5. The Coordinator shall also take care of facilitating interviews of presumed victims with the Vicar or his delegate, in those cases where such is advisable, in order to discuss possible pastoral or medical attention that the presumed victim might need.

5.6. It shall be the competence of the Coordinator, in conformity with what is laid down in c.1719 of the CIC, to keep a registry of the accusations of sexual abuse of minors against faithful of the Prelature (cf. art.2) that the Vicar has ordered investigated.

      • When ten years have passed since the accusation, what is laid down in c. 489, §2 is followed. The summary shall not include names of presumed victims or accused, but only the date that the charges were received, the species of the presumed crime, the dates of initiation and closing of the preliminary investigation and the final decision of the Regional Vicar (to remit the actaeof the investigation to the CDF or to consider the charges as incredible).
      • Together with this registry, notes of experiences regarding procedures gathered from the different cases investigated—without mentioning names whatsoever—that may be useful for future cases, may also be kept.
      • The documentation of each case shall be conserved in the archives of the Prelature, according to the universal norms regarding the registry of confidential documents (cf. CIC, cc. 489 & 1719).III. Interests that need to be Protected

III. GOODS THAT NEED TO BE PROTECTED

6. Upon receiving and investigating denunciations, the following goods must be protected:

6.1. As a guarantee that justice is fulfilled, the pertinent canonical and civil norms should be carefully observed, respecting the rights of all parties.

6.2. With respect to the laws of the State and its Justice Administration:

6.2.1. While faithfully respecting the internal or sacramental forum, the prescriptions of civil laws in what refers to remitting such criminal cases to the legitimate authorities will always be observed.
6.2.2. If the Police is investigating the case, or if a judicial process has been opened in the civil or criminal tribunals against the accused, such should not be obstructed or influenced. Taking the circumstances of the case into account, the Vicar shall decide whether or not it is opportune to postpone the opening of the canonical preliminary investigation until the civil judicial process has terminated.
6.2.3. Independent of the results of the police investigation or the sentence of the civil judicial process, the Church retains the right to open a preliminary investigation according to CIC, c.1717 and its norms.

6.3. One must avoid that the preliminary investigation endangers the good name of persons (cf. CIC, c.1717, §2). This requires that whoever is involved in the preliminary investigation respect the principle of confidentiality (natural secret).

6.4. One must always act with justice, compassion and charity; likewise, one must try to avoid or remedy any scandal

6.5. As regards the alleged victims:

6.5.1. They should be protected and helped to find support and reconciliation.
6.5.2. They must be given spiritual and psychological assistance.
6.5.3. The accuser must be treated with respect. In those cases where sexual abuse were related to a crime against the dignity of the sacrament of Penance (Sst, art.4), the accuser has the right to demand that his/her name be not communicated to the accused priest.

6.6. In what refers to the accused:

6.6.1. His fundamental right to defense shall be respected. Thus, unless the Vicar, after hearing the Advisory Committee, judges that there are serious reasons to the contrary, the accused should be informed of the accusations, from the start of the preliminary investigation, giving him the opportunity to answer each one of them. The prudence of the Vicar shall decide which information is to be communicated to the accused during the preliminary investigation.
6.6.2. If the Vicar judges that there are reasons to limit the information that is given to the accused regarding the accusations, he shall be notified that if upon concluding the preliminary investigation the accusations are not discarded as unfounded and a judicial or administrative process were to follow, in such process he shall have full knowledge of the accusations and proofs presented against him and the possibility of contradicting them. He shall likewise be notified that this mode of acting is also followed in the civil justice system, wherein the accused does not have access to all the information gathered by the fiscal or judge instructing the case until the judicial process formally starts.\
6.6.3. The accused and accusers shall be reminded of the presumption of innocence while the contrary is not proven.
6.6.4. In any moment of the disciplinary or penal procedure, the accused cleric should be assured of a just and dignified subsistence.
6.6.5. A cleric should not be readmitted to the public exercise of his ministry if this could suppose a danger to minors or if there is danger of scandal for the community.
6.6.6. Upon conclusion of the preliminary investigation, everything should be done to restore the good name of whoever might have been unjustly accused.

IV. MANNER OF MAKING AND RECEIVING ACCUSATIONS

7. Manner of Making and Receiving Accusations

7.1. Whoever finds it necessary to present charges of sexual abuse of a minor against a faithful of the Prelature (cf. art.2.1) should approach the Coordinator. A faithful of the Prelature who may have knowledge of acts of sexual abuse of minors committed by another faithful of the Prelature, or who sees reasonable cause to suspect such delicts, should immediately inform the Coordinator, unless such action should violate the confidentiality of spiritual direction or the sacramental seal of Confession.

7.2. The Coordinator shall without delay talk with the person who wishes to make an accusation, if possible within twenty-four hours from the moment that he receives his call or message.

7.3. The Coordinator shall talk with the parents or representatives of the alleged victim, if they are not the ones who are making the charges.

7.4. The Coordinator shall also talk with the alleged victim, if this is not personally making the charge. Prior to this interview, the Coordinator should consider if such were opportune or whether he should first obtain the consent of the accuser’s parents or their representatives. These, or the persons they designate, should be present during the interview. These precautions are not necessary when, due to the time elapsed since the events referred to by the charges, the alleged victim has attained the age of majority.

7.5. The Coordinator shall not say anything to whoever is making an accusation, or to the alleged victim, or to any other person regarding the culpability of the accused, regarding the possible existence of a right to receive financial compensation for the alleged abused or regarding what could happen after the preliminary investigation is concluded.

7.6. In the conversations with whoever are making the accusations or with the alleged victim, the Coordinator shall make it clear that, if the Vicar should decide as a precautionary measure to limit the exercise of priestly ministry (in the case that the accused were a priest) or the participation in the apostolates of the Prelature (in the case of a lay person), that until the accusations are clarified, such measures do not imply any presumption of guilt on the part of the ecclesiastical authority or an admission of culpability on the part of the accused.

7.7. The Coordinator shall ask the persons making accusations to send him written information. He shall make the same petition to the parents or representatives of the alleged victim, unless the latter has attained the age of majority. He shall provide them a copy of the Questionnaire attached to these norms (Appendix 2) as a guide for writing the information. If, taking into consideration the age or educational level of the accuser, the Coordinator foresees that it would not be easy for this person to write the information, he may take care of it himself. Afterwards, he shall present it to the person concerned for this to see if it is faithful to what he has said and for him to affix his signature. The Coordinator shall also affix his signature.

7.8. The Coordinator shall keep a registry of all the conversations with alleged victims, their parents or their representatives and whoever other persons are making the accusations, together with the written information regarding such accusations (cf. Art.5.6).

7.9. When the accusation is against a lay employee or volunteer of an institution in which the Prelature only supervises the spiritual aspects thereof, the Coordinator shall ask the person making accusations to present such accusations to the Directors of such institution, who are the ones responsible for the conduct of the employee or volunteer during working hours in that place (cf. Art.2.2.2).

7.10. If the communications media spread accusations, the Coordinator shall contact the person making accusation to ask him to make a formal accusation.

7.11. If anonymous accusations are received, the Coordinator shall inform the Vicar, for this to decide whether to take it up or not.

8. Assistance to the Alleged Victims

Upon receiving accusations of sexual abuse of minors against faithful of the Prelature (cf. Art.2.1) that seem credible, the Coordinator, in agreement with the Vicar, shall immediately communicate with the parents of the alleged victim, or their representatives, and shall immediately coordinate the pastoral assistance for the alleged victim and his family, taking into account what is mentioned in Art. 7.5 and 7.6. In agreement with the Vicar, he shall also advise them about the possibility of receiving psychological assistance.

9. Informing the Civil Authorities

Under present legislation in the Philippines, it is not obligatory to inform the civil authorities of accusations of sexual abuse of minors. If present legislation changes, such that it becomes obligatory to inform the civil authorities of accusations of sexual abuse of minors, the Coordinator should take this into account and duly inform the accusers as outlined below.

Informing the Civil Authorities (in those countries where such is obligatory).

9.1. Without prejudice to the inviolability of the internal or sacramental forum (confidentiality of spiritual direction and the seal of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: cf. Art.7.1), in conformity with the civil legislation, the civil authorities should be informed of the accusations of sexual abuse of minors that are considered plausible according to Art. 10.2.

9.2. This right and duty shall always be respected. Under no motive should the alleged victim or his family be dissuaded from denouncing the case to the civil authorities. The Coordinator should inform the alleged victim, or his parents or guardians in case of a minor, of this right and duty and shall encourage them to take the opportune steps.

9.3. If they refuse, the Coordinator, in agreement with the Vicar, shall inform the civil authorities about the accusation received.

9.4. If the ones making the accusations are faithful of the Prelature, the Coordinator shall assure that they inform the civil authorities, unless the alleged victim or his parents or guardians have already done so.

V. THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION

10. Opening the Preliminary Investigation

10.1. Upon receiving an accusation of sexual abuse, the Coordinator shall immediately inform the Vicar and shall furnish him the information or written information regarding the pertinent conversations that he has carried out with the accuser or accusers, the alleged victim and his parents or their representatives. The Coordinator can make the recommendations he may deem opportune based on the impressions gathered from those conversations.

10.2. The Vicar shall forward the information to the Advisory Committee and ask for its opinion on whether or not to open an investigation. Having heard the opinion of the Advisory Committee and that of the Promoter of Justice (cf. CIC, c. 1722), the Vicar shall make a decision. In doing so, he shall keep in mind that an investigation should be opened whenever the accusation appears credible and does not in any way seem superfluous; for example, because the accused confirms it and admits his responsibility (cf. CIC, c. 1717). Even in this case, it might be opportune to carry out an investigation in order to clarify the scope and circumstances of the acts.

10.3. If an investigation is decided upon, the Vicar shall issue a decree expressing this decision and appointing a person capable of carrying it out or indicating if he shall carry it out himself (cf. CIC, c.1717). Even if the Vicar shall freely decide on this matter, it would be preferable normally that he appoints a delegate to take charge of the investigation.

10.4. Taking the circumstances of the case into account (the number and condition of the persons who have to be interviewed, the nature of the acts, etc.), the Vicar may consider it opportune to appoint in the decree initiating the investigation, aside from his delegate, two investigators chosen from professionals well equipped for this type of work—e.g., a lawyer and a psychologist or social worker.

10.5. Once the decree is issued, the Vicar shall inform the accused without delay, not later than 48 hours, about the accusation received and shall furnish him a copy of the decree opening the investigation.

10.6. The Regional Vicar shall remind the accused of the principle according to which a person is considered innocent while his culpability is not proven and shall inform him that he should not communicate with the accuser or accusers or with the alleged victim or his family. He shall also inform him of the dangers implied in answering possible questions from the communications media, advising him to refer reporters to the Office of the Vicar of the Prelature.

10.7. The object of the investigation is to determine the facts and their circumstances, as well as imputability (cf. CIC, c. 1717 and Appendix I of these Norms).

10.8. It is the duty of the Vicar to determine which of the precautionary measures provided in the CIC, c. 1722 and in the CCEO, c. 1473 should be applied in order to safeguard the common good. In accordance with Sst, Art. 19, such measures may be imposed once the preliminary investigation is opened. The Vicar can ask the Advisory Committee its opinion regarding the convenience of adopting such measures, in order to limit—by way of precaution—the exercise of the ministry by the priest under investigation. On its own initiative, the Committee can also make recommendations along this line to the Regional Vicar.

11. Conduct of the Preliminary Investigation

11.1. The investigators appointed by the Vicar (cf. Art.10.4), or his delegate if he has not appointed any investigators, have the same power and identical obligations as the auditors in a process (cf. CIC, c.1717, §3, Arts.11-12 of these Norms).

11.2. Whoever shall be interviewed by the investigators shall be informed of their right to be accompanied by another person of their choice. This person may be a canon lawyer or an attorney.

11.3. The investigators shall furnish the canon lawyer, attorney or another person that the accused and the alleged victim may have chosen as assessors whatever information that they deem appropriate in each case with respect to the progress of the investigation (cf. Arts. 6.6.1-6.6.2). If the accused or the alleged victim prefers to count on the assistance of another person, the information regarding the progress of the case shall be furnished them directly.

11.4.The investigators shall interview the person or persons who have made the accusations, with the alleged victim (if the accusations had been made by another person), with the accused and with any other person who might help clarify the facts referred to in the accusations.

11.5. If the alleged victim is still a minor, the investigators shall judge the propriety of investigating him or not. In the affirmative case, they should first secure the expressed consent of the alleged victim’s parents or their representatives and the interview shall take place in their presence.

11.6. Before interviewing the accused, he should be informed about the accusations made against him (cf. Arts. 6.6.1-6.6.2), giving him the possibility of responding. If he so desires, this response can be personally written by him or by his canon lawyer or attorney. If he prefers, he can respond to the accusations verbally during the interview with the investigators.

11.7. In talking with the accused, it should be taken into account that he is not obliged to confess the crime, nor should he be asked to do anything under oath (cf. CIC, c. 1728, §2).

11.8.The investigators and those they interview shall sign a written information regarding each interview, after having determined that they adequately reflect whatever was dealt with thereof. To this end, there is no inconvenience in recording the interview. Whoever is in charge of transcribing these recordings should commit to observe silence of office.

12. Conclusions and Recommendations of the Preliminary Investigation

12.1. Upon completing the investigation, the investigators shall consider:

12.1.1. Whether the accusations are plausible or not.
12.1.2. Whether the facts and circumstances as borne out by their investigation constitute the crime of sexual abuse (cf. Appendix 1).
12.1.3. Whether the crime appears to be imputable to the accused (cf. Appendix 1).
12.1.4. If there is no crime of sexual abuse, whether there are imprudent actions, etc., which are improper of the exemplarity expected of a priest or layperson who desires to live his Christian vocation seriously.

12.2. The investigators shall present to the Advisory Committee a report with their conclusions regarding the matters mentioned in Art. 12.1. They may add whatever suggestions and recommendations they may deem opportune. This report shall be accompanied by the reports regarding the interviews carried out (cf. Art. 11.8), as well as whatever other pertinent document (letters, etc.) that may have been furnished them in the course of the investigation.

12.3. The Advisory Committee shall meet without delay to consider the report of the investigators and to evaluate whether the investigation was complete and free of irregularities. Should it be deemed necessary, the Committee can ask the investigators to complete their report. Afterwards, the Committee shall submit to the Vicar all the documents of the investigation, with a letter indicating whether they agree with the conclusions of the investigators and adding whatever recommendations they may wish to make to the Vicar.

12.4. Aware that an investigation of this type constitutes a difficult trial for the alleged victim as well as for the accused, the Vicar and the members of the Advisory Committee shall strive to carry it out in the shortest time possible and shall be careful that there be no delays in the interviews by the investigators or in the redaction and presentation of their conclusions.

13. Closure of the Preliminary Investigation by the Vicar

13.1. The Vicar shall closely examine the reports and conclusions of the Coordinator (cf. Art.10.1), and the Advisory Committee (cf. Art.12.3). If he deems it necessary, he can devolve the case to the Advisory Committee and to the investigators for clarification or further verifications. When he is satisfied with the results presented to him, he shall proceed to the closure of the preliminary investigation.

13.2. If the Vicar concludes that the accusations are not plausible, he shall issue a decree declaring the conclusion of the investigation and the dismissal of the charges as baseless, and shall send a copy of the decree to the accused, the alleged victim and the Advisory Committee.

13.3. If the accused is a cleric and the conclusion of the Vicar is that the accusations are credible and that, therefore, there are reasons to think that a crime has been committed:

13.3.1. He shall make sure the civil authorities are notified of the accusations (if actual civil legislation requires this; cf. Art. 6.2.1 & 9).
13.3.2. He shall forward to the Prelate the actae of the preliminary investigation for these to be sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (cf. Sst, Art. 16).
13.3.3. He shall send a letter to the accused, to the alleged victim and to the Advisory Committee informing them that he has done what is indicated in Art. 13.3.1.
13.3.4. In that letter, the Vicar shall indicate that the accused is prohibited from participating in any activity of the Prelature in which minors are involved, and from carrying out any other pastoral activity, and that he may only exercise his ministry within the Center of the Prelature where he resides.
13.3.5. The Vicar shall also inform about the foregoing (Arts. 13.3.1-13.3.4) the Bishop of the Diocese wherein the presumed sexual abuse happened and wherein the accused resides.

13.4. If the accused is a lay person and the conclusion of the Vicar is that the accusations are credible and that therefore there are reasons to think that a crime has been committed, the Vicar:

13.4.1. Shall make sure that the civil authorities are informed of the accusations (if actual civil legislation requires this; cf. Art. 6.2.1 & 9) and shall wait until the judicial process, wherein the accusations are being tried, is concluded, should such process still not be concluded before the opening of the preliminary investigation.
13.4.2. Shall prohibit the accused from participating in any activity of the Prelature which involves minors.
13.4.3. Shall send a letter to the accused, to the alleged victim and to the Advisory Committee informing them that he has done what is mentioned in Art. 13.4.2.
13.4.4. Shall also notify about the foregoing (Arts. 13.4.1-13.4.3) the Bishop of the diocese wherein the alleged sexual abuse took place and wherein the accused resides.

VI. PASTORAL MEASURES UPON CONCLUSION OF THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION

14. Pastoral Measures as regards the Alleged Victim

14.1. The Vicar, or somebody designated by him, shall hold a meeting with the alleged victim or with his parents or tutors—if the presumed victim is a minor—to inform them of the results of the investigation. Both the Vicar or his representative, and the alleged victim shall be accompanied by another person.

14.2. If the accusation has not been deemed credible, the alleged victim shall be informed accordingly.

14.3. If the accusation has been deemed credible, the alleged victim shall be so informed, as well as whoever may have made the accusations apart from the alleged victim. The alleged victim, and his family should this be deemed necessary, shall be offered the pastoral attention most appropriate given the circumstances. Nothing should be said that might be understood as an admission of culpability or presumption of culpability of the accused on the part of the ecclesiastical authority. Only after the judicial or administrative process, or whatever canonical steps in lieu of a process, that follows the preliminary investigation, can culpability be considered (cf. Appendix I, B).

15. Pastoral Measures as regards the Accused

15.1. As regards the accused, if at the end of the preliminary investigation the charges are proven without foundation, and the accused has not been arraigned in the civil courts or has been absolved, the Vicar shall take all the necessary measures in order to restore the good name of the person who has been unjustly accused. These measures could be the following, among others:

15.1.1. a public declaration that the accused has been found innocent and, in the case of a cleric, have returned to the exercise of his ministry;
15.1.2. a visit by the Vicar to the apostolic works where the accused works in order to give the same information to the people working or taking part in those places;
15.1.3. offer spiritual and psychological assistance to the person who had been falsely accused, to help him recover from the inevitable trauma.

15.2. If at the conclusion of the preliminary investigation the accusation is found credible, aside from doing what is indicated in Art. 13.3.3 or 13.4.3, the Vicar can urge the accused to submit himself to a medical and psychological evaluation by professionals who are deemed adequate by the Vicar and the accused. The Vicar shall also assure that pastoral attention is given the accused according to his circumstances.

16. Pastoral Measures as regards Other Affected Persons

16.1. Sexual abuse profoundly affects the family of the victim. The victim may have to confront rejection in his social circle and his parents may blame themselves for not having protected their children sufficiently. The Vicar shall look for the best way to help them recover from the possible psychological and spiritual trauma.

16.2. It can happen that the person who has perpetrated the abuse is very popular in the place where the acts had been committed. The reactions of people who know him can be of anger, disappointment, disgust, betrayal, unbelief, pain and compassion for the victim, etc. The ecclesiastical authority ought to carefully consider the adequate measures to take in order to address these reactions with the opportune pastoral and psychological remedies.

VII. CANONICAL RESPONSE TO CONFIRMED CRIMES OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS

17. When a solitary act of sexual abuse of a minor by a faithful of the Prelature is admitted by its perpetrator, or is confirmed in a canonical process—whether judicial or extra-judicial—carried out according to the norms of Law, the Vicar shall determine the aptness of the perpetrator to remain in the Prelature.

18. Taking into consideration the corresponding norms in the Statutes of the Prelature (cf. Statuta, nn. 28-35), the Vicar may suggest to the perpetrator of the abuse to ask the Prelate for a dispensation from his incorporation to the Prelature (cf. ibid., n.31), or he may suggest to the Prelate the expulsion of that person from the Prelature. In any case, all the rights of the perpetrator, recognized by the Statutes of Opus Dei and Canon Law, shall be respected.

19. As regards the canonical penalties applicable to priests or deacons who commit this crime, what is established in Sst, Arts. 6, §2; 21, §2 (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Circular Letter of 3 May 2011, II).

19.1. A priest or deacon, who has committed an act of sexual abuse of a minor, can ask for the dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state any time.

19.2. In very serious cases, the Prelate of Opus Dei, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, can present directly for the decision of the Roman Pontiff the dismissal of the offender from the clerical state, or his dismissal together with the dispensation from the law of celibacy, provided that the commission of the crime is manifest and after giving the offender the faculty to defend himself (cf. Sst, Art. 21, §2, 2º).

20. The Ordinary of the Diocese where the abuse occurred shall be informed about the resolution of the case.

21. The readmission of the cleric to the public exercise of his ministry should be excluded if such were to suppose a danger to minors or if there exists a danger of scandal for the community (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Circular Letter, 3 May 2011, III, i.).

22. No priest or deacon of the Prelature, who has committed an act of sexual abuse of a minor, should be entrusted with tasks proper of the priestly or diaconal ministry in another ecclesiastical circumscription, or transferred to another ecclesiastical circumscription in order to carry out any ministerial task, unless the Vicar has previously informed in detail the Ordinary of that circumscription regarding the crime of sexual abuse committed and regarding any other information that may indicate that the priest or deacon may be a danger for children or young people.


Appendix I

In this Appendix are included various legislative texts of special importance for the preliminary investigation of accusations of sexual abuse, with some brief commentaries.

A. NOTION OF THE CRIME OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS:

IN CANON LAW AND IN CIVIL LAW

A.1. Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, of 30 April 2001, updated on 21 May 2010.

Art. 6, §1. The most serious crimes against morality, reserved to the judgment of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, are:

1º The crime against the 6th Commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor of 18 years of age or less. In this number, to a minor is equivalent a person who habitually has imperfect use of reason.

2º The acquisition, retention or distribution by a cleric of pornographic pictures, in whatever form and with whatever instrument, of minors less than 14 years old for a libidinous end.

A.2. The Procedure and Praxis of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding Graviora Delicta, B. Delicta contra mores.

With respect to this crime, some considerations regarding the praxis of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are relevant:

a) The motu proprio speaks of a “delictum cum minore.”This is not limited to physical contact or direct abuse, but also includes indirect abuse (e.g., showing pornography to minors, indecent self-exposure in front of them).

b) Can. 1395, §2 of the CIC speaks of a crime with a minor of 16 years: “cum minore infra aetatem sedecim annorum.” The motu proprio, on the other hand, speaks of a crime with a minor of 18 years: “delictum … cum minore infra aetatem duodeviginti annorum.”Hence, the classification of the crime is rendered more complex. In effect, some experts speak not only of pedophilia (attraction to prepubescent children) but also of ephebophilia (attraction towards adolescents), homosexuality (attraction towards adults of the same sex) and heterosexuality (attraction towards adults of the opposite sex). Between 16 and 18 years old, some “minors” can certainly be objects of homosexual as well as heterosexual attraction. The laws of some countries consider a person of 16 years of age as capable of consenting to sexual acts (whether heterosexual or homosexual). However, the motu proprio considers as a crime all violation of the 6th Commandment with a minor of 18 years of age, be it a case of pedophilia, ephebophilia, homosexuality or heterosexuality. Nevertheless, the aforementioned differentiation is not without importance from the psychological, pastoral and juridic viewpoint. Without doubt, it helps the Ordinary and the judge to appreciate the gravity of the crime and to choose the needed way for the reform of the culpable cleric, the repair of the scandal and the restoration of justice (cf. c.1341).

A.3. Corresponding Philippine Law

See Appendix III.

B. CREDIBLE ACCUSATIONS

CIC, c. 1717, §1: Whenever the Ordinary receives information, which has at least the semblance of truth, about an offence, he is to enquire carefully, either personally or through some suitable person, about the facts and circumstances, and about the imputability of the offence, unless this enquiry would appear to be entirely superfluous.

The accusations that should be investigated are those which appear credible—i.e., those which have an appearance of truth. “The positive condition for the initiation of the investigation is that, from the information obtained, there be deduced such clues as would make the commission of an offense probable.” [Josemaría Sanchís, Commentary to Can.1717, in Exegetical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, Vol. IV/2, Wilson & Lafleur (Canada), Midwest Theological Forum (US). 2004.]

The object of the preliminary investigation is to determine if the appearance of truth is confirmed in the acts being alleged. However, it will be in the judicial or administrative process that may follow the preliminary investigation where the moral certainty necessary for the imposition of a punishment is obtained. For this reason, at the end of the preliminary investigation, the accused shall not be considered culpable unless he has admitted committing the crime.

C. IMPUTABILITY

CIC, c. 1717, §1: Whenever the Ordinary receives information, which has at least the semblance of truth, about an offence, he is to enquire carefully, either personally or through some suitable person, about the facts and circumstances, and about the imputability of the offence, unless this enquiry would appear to be entirely superfluous.

What does imputability mean? When are the reported acts considered imputable to the accused?

Imputability is the quality of an action or omission which makes it attributable to its author insofar as the latter has violated the law either intentionally or out of neglect. In the terminology proper of Penal Law—also Canonical Penal Law—the term malicious act is used to refer to an intentional violation of the law, while culpable act is used to refer to the violation of a law due to neglect. These are the two forms of imputability described in the Code of Canon Law.

CIC, c. 1321, §1: No one can be punished for the commission of an external violation of a law or precept unless it is gravely imputable by reason of malice or of culpability.

— §2: A person who deliberately violated a law or precept is bound by the penalty prescribed in that law or precept. If, however, the violation was due to the omission of due diligence, the person is not punished unless the law or precept provides otherwise.

— §3: Where there has been an external violation, imputability is presumed, unless it appears otherwise.

D. PRESCRIPTION OF THE CRIME OF SEXUAL ABUSE

IN THE LAW OF THE CHURCH

Any person may report a crime, the term “report” understood in its wide sense—i.e., an act through which the authority is made aware of the commission of a crime. The reporting of crimes should be considered not only as a faculty but also as an obligation—moral or juridical according to the case. (…) However, the presentation of the report does not take for granted that a criminal action took place—this faculty belongs solely to the promoter of justice by order of the Ordinary (cf. cc.1430 and 1721, §1) and never by the injured—nor does it bring with it the obligation of demonstrating the culpability of the accused.” [Josemaría Sanchís, Commentary to c.1717, in op.cit.].

The criminal action has for its object the opening of a process to declare a crime or the imposition of a penalty. The possibility of exercising it is extinguished with the passage of time. This is what is known as prescription, which the Law regulates. In the penal process, which is opened as a consequence of the criminal action exercised by the promoter of justice, the injured party can exercise a contentious or penal action in order to obtain the reparation of any damage he may have suffered as a result of the crime (cf. CIC, cc.1596 & 1729, §1).

D.1. Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela of 30.IV.2001, updated 21.V.2010.

Art. 7, §1. Without prejudice to the right of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of derogating the prescription for particular cases, a criminal action relative to crimes reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is extinguished by prescription in 20 years.

§2. This prescription starts according to the tenor of c.1362 of the Code of Canon Law and of c.1152, §3 of the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches. However, in the case of the crime dealt with in Art.6, §1, n.1 (crimes against the 6th Commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric against a minor of 18 years old), the prescription starts from the day on which the minor completes 18 years of age.

D.2. Corresponding Philippine Law

See Appendix III.


Appendix II

INFORMATION REGARDING AN ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE OF A MINOR ATTRIBUTED TO A FAITHFUL OF THE PRELATURE OF OPUS DEI IN THE PHILIPPINES

1. This information is presented by:

Name and Family Name: _____________________________________________

Street Address ___________________________ City _______________________

Province ________________Postal Code ______ Telephone _______________

2. Alleged perpetrator of the abuse:

Name and Family Name: ____________________________________________

Street Address ___________________________ City ________________________

Province ________________Postal Code ________ Telephone _____________

Age _____ Sex:Male ____ Female ____

3. Alleged victim:

    Name and Family Name: ____________________________________________

    Street Address ___________________________ City ______________________

    Province _________________ Postal Code ______Telephone _____________

    Age ___Sex: Male __ Female __ Age when alleged abuse took place ___

4. Address and telephone of parents or representatives, if the alleged victim is a minor:

    Name and Family Name: _______________________________________________

    Street Address ___________________________ City _________________________

    Province _________________ Postal Code ________ Telephone _____________

5. Name, address & telephone of ocular witnesses of the alleged abuse (use another sheet if needed):

    Name and Family Name: _______________________________________________

    Street Address ___________________________ City _________________________

    Province _________________ Postal Code ________ Telephone _____________

    Name and Family Name: _______________________________________________

    Street Address ___________________________ City _________________________

    Province _________________ Postal Code ________ Telephone _____________

    Name and Family Name: _______________________________________________

    Street Address ___________________________ City _________________________

    Province _________________ Postal Code ________ Telephone _____________

6. Name and telephone of other witnesses with information regarding the alleged abuse (use another sheet if necessary).

    Name and Family Name: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______________________________________________

    Telephone _____________________________

    Name and Family Name ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______________________________________________

    Telephone _____________________________

    Name and Family Name ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______________________________________________

    Telephone _____________________________

7. On another sheet, please describe—by word processor or intelligible manuscript—the alleged abuse, including the following information:

    • Nature of the alleged act (s) (type of sin against the 6th Commandment).
    • Date (s) and time (s) of the alleged acts.
    • Place (s) and address where the acts allegedly took place.
    • Any other information which might be considered important (e.g., whether violence, threats, favors or gifts were used; scandal, abuse of authority.)

Signature of the person writing this information: _________________________

Date _________________________________

Please sign the other sheet (cf. 7 above) and staple it to this one.


Appendix III

PERTINENT REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES LAWS ON SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS AND THE DUTY TO REPORT

R.A. 7610 (Anti-Child Abuse Law) itself does not contain any provision that mandates private individuals to report cases of child abuse. On the other hand, the attached Rules and Regulations on the Reporting and Investigation of Child Abuse Cases (10-00-1993) stipulates that a person who learns of facts or circumstances that give rise to the belief that a child has suffered abuse may report the same, either orally or in writing, to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the police or other law enforcement agency or the Barangay Council for Protection of Children.

Under the same Rules, only the following persons are specifically mandated to report child abuse cases:

1) The head of any public or private hospital, clinic or similar institution, as well as the attending physician or nurse;
2) Teachers and administrators of public schools;
3) Probation officers;
4) Government Lawyers;
5) Law enforcement officers;
6) Barangay officials;
7) Correction Officers;
8) Other government officials and employees whose work involves dealing with children;

Under the R.A. 7877 (Anti-Sexual Harassment Act), there is likewise no explicit obligation to report acts of sexual harassment to the police. Under the said law, the express obligations of an Employer or Head of Office in a Work-related, Education or Training Environment are as follows:

Duty of the Employer or Head of Office in a Work-related, Education or Training Environment.

It shall be the duty of the employer or the head of the work-related, educational or training environment or institution, to prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment and to provide the procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment.

Towards this end, the employer or head of office shall:

(a) Promulgate appropriate rules and regulations in consultation with and joint1y approved by the employees or students or trainees, through their duly designated representatives, prescribing the procedure for the investigation of sexual harassment cases and the administrative sanctions therefor.

Administrative sanctions shall not be a bar to prosecution in the proper courts for unlawful acts of sexual harassment.

The said rules and regulations issued pursuant to this subsection (a) shall include, among others, guidelines on proper decorum in the workplace and educational or training institutions.

(b) Create a committee on decorum and investigation of cases on sexual harassment. The committee shall conduct meetings, as the case may be, with officers and employees, teachers, instructors, professors, coaches, trainors, and students or trainees to increase understanding and prevent incidents of sexual harassment. It shall also conduct the investigation of alleged cases constituting sexual harassment.

In the case of a work-related environment, the committee shall be composed of at least one (1) representative each from the management, the union, if any, the employees from the supervisory rank, and from the rank and file employees.

In the case of the educational or training institution, the committee shall be composed of at least one (1) representative from the administration, the trainors, instructors, professors or coaches and students or trainees, as the case may be.

The employer or head of office, educational or training institution shall disseminate or post a copy of this Act for the information of all concerned.

Although RA 7877 provides that the Employer or Head of Office in a Work-related, Education or Training Environment will be solidarily liable for damages arising out of sexual harassment if they are informed of such acts by the offended party and no immediate action is taken, the said law does not specify what “immediate action” means. However, it may be argued that immediate action relates to the investigation on the complaint received from the victim of sexual harassment and not necessarily to the reporting of the case to the police. It should also be noted that R.A. 7877 only applies to acts of sexual harassment committed in a work or training or education environment.

Obstruction of Justice. Although there is no clear legal obligation to report the complaint received by the Ecclesiastical Authority, he should just be careful that his acts will not amount to obstruction of justice. Under Presidential Decree No. 1829, obstruction of justice is committed by any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases by committing any of the following acts:

1) preventing witnesses from testifying in any criminal proceeding or from reporting the commission of any offense or the identity of any offender/s by means of bribery, misrepresentation, deceit, intimidation, force or threats;
2) altering, destroying, suppressing or concealing any paper, record, document, or object, with intent to impair its verity, authenticity, legibility, availability, or admissibility as evidence in any investigation of or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or to be used in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases;
3) harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of, any person he knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect, has committed any offense under existing penal laws in order to prevent his arrest, prosecution and conviction;
4) publicly using a fictitious name for the purpose of concealing a crime, evading prosecution or the execution of a judgment, or concealing his true name and other personal circumstances for the same purpose or purposes;
5) delaying the prosecution of criminal cases by obstructing the service of process or court orders or disturbing proceedings in the fiscal's offices, in Tanodbayan, or in the courts;
6) making, presenting or using any record, document, paper or object with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases;
7) soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept any benefit in consideration of abstaining from, discontinuing, or impeding the prosecution of a criminal offender;
8) threatening directly or indirectly another with the infliction of any wrong upon his person, honor or property or that of any immediate member or members of his family in order to prevent such person from appearing in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or imposing a condition, whether lawful or unlawful, in order to prevent a person from appearing in the investigation of or in official proceedings in, criminal cases;
9) giving of false or fabricated information to mislead or prevent the law enforcement agencies from apprehending the offender or from protecting the life or property of the victim; or fabricating information from the data gathered in confidence by investigating authorities for purposes of background information and not for publication and publishing or disseminating the same to mislead the investigator.

REPUBLIC ACT No. 7610

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR STRONGER DETERRENCE AND SPECIAL PROTECTION AGAINST CHILD ABUSE, EXPLOITATION AND DISCRIMINATION, PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR ITS VIOLATION AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Section 3. Definition of Terms.

(a) “Children” refers to person below eighteen (18) years of age or those over but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition;

(b) “Child abuse” refers to the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child which includes any of the following:

(1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;

(2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;

(3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food and shelter; or

(4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his permanent incapacity or death.

October 1993

RULES AND REGULATIONS ON THE REPORTING AND INVESTIGATION OF CHILD ABUSE CASES pursuant to Section 32 of Republic Act No. 7610 (“An Act Providing For Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation And Discrimination, Providing Penalties For Its Violation And For Other Purposes”)

SECTION 3. Reporting. — A person who learns of facts or circumstances that give rise to the belief that a child has suffered abuse may report the same, either orally or in writing, to the Department, to the police or other law enforcement agency or to a Barangay Council for the Protection of Children.

SECTION 4. Mandatory Reporting. — The head of any public or private hospital, medical clinic and similar institution, as well as the attending physician and nurse, shall report, either orally or in writing, to the Department the examination and/or treatment of a child who appears to have suffered abuse within forty-eight (48) hours from knowledge of the same.

SECTION 5. Duty of Government Workers to Report. — It shall be the duty of all teachers and administrators in public schools, probation officers, government lawyers, law enforcement officers, barangay officials, corrections officers and other government officials and employees whose work involves dealing with children to report all incidents of possible child abuse to the Department.

SECTION 6. Failure to Report. — Failure of the individuals mentioned in Section 4 above and the administrator or head of the hospital, clinic or similar institution concerned to report a possible case of child abuse shall be punishable with a fine of not more than two thousand pesos (P2,000.00).

SECTION 7. Immunity for Reporting. — A person who, acting in good faith, shall report a case of child abuse shall be free from any civil or administrative liability arising therefrom. There shall be a presumption that any such person acted in good faith.

SECTION 8. Investigation. — Not later than forty-eight (48) hours after receipt of a report on a possible incident of child abuse, the Department shall immediately proceed to the home or establishment where the alleged child victim is found and interview said child to determine whether an abuse was committed, the identity of the perpetrator and the need of removing the child from his home or the establishment where he may be found or placing him under protective custody pursuant to Section 9 of these Rules.

Whenever practicable, the Department shall conduct the interview jointly with the police and/or a barangay official.

To minimize the number of interviews of the child victim, his statement shall be transcribed or recorded on voice or video tape.

Republic Act No. 9775

AN ACT DEFINING AND PENALIZING THE CRIME OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THEREOF AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

SECTION 3. Definition of Terms.

(a) “Child” refers to a person below eighteen (18) years of age or over, but is unable to fully take care of himself/herself or protect himself/herself from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition.
For the purpose of this Act, a child shall also refer to:

(1) a person regardless of age who is presented, depicted or portrayed as a child as defined herein; and

(2) computer-generated, digitally or manually crafted images or graphics of a person who is represented or who is made to appear to be a child as defined herein.

(b) “Child Pornography” refers to any representation, whether visual, audio or written combination thereof, by electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or any other means, of a child engaged or involved in real or simulated explicit sexual activities.

(c) “Explicit Sexual Activity”' includes actual or simulated —

(1) sexual intercourse or lascivious act including, but not limited to, contact involving genital to genital, oral to genital, anal to genital, or oral to anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex;

(2) bestiality;

(3) masturbation;

(4) sadistic or masochistic abuse;

(5) lascivious exhibition of the genitals, buttocks, breasts, pubic area and/or anus; or

(6) use of any object or instrument for lascivious acts.