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Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston adds new abuse reporting system

WHEELING — The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has added a second third-party system for use in reporting concerns or allegations of abuse and harassment within the diocese.

The diocese, on Monday, announced a partnership with Navex Global to roll out a new version of the EthicsPoint platform, to report suspected financial, professional and personal misconduct of a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee of the diocese or any parish or Catholic school in West Virginia.

EthicsPoint is an online or telephone-based reporting program, which can be accessed through the diocese’s website under the “Accountability” tab or the “Report Misconduct” tab or by calling (844) 723-8381.

Reports may be made anonymously, with information provided to a limited number of people.

“This new system offers an extra layer of accountability and gives anyone who may have been harmed a guarantee that their voices will be heard,” Bishop Mark Brennan said.

“We know that it is important for people who come forward in good faith to be able to report anonymously. EthicsPoint allows for this.”

Nationally, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has established the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service, organized to receive reports of sexual abuse and interference with sexual abuse investigations on the part of bishops in the U.S.

These reports are relayed to a lay person in each diocese with professional experience in such matters, who will assist in the investigations. Instances where a report indicates an alleged crime, reports will be forwarded to civil authorities. The website to file reports is reportbishopabuse.org.

“The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston encourages reporting to civil authorities first and foremost if a crime has been committed,” Brennan said.

The diocese also operates its own Office of Safe Environment, which offers a direct, discreet way to report sexual abuse within the diocese.

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