The Society of Mary (Marists) is committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment for all children who interact with its members and are involved in its ministries. We have clear standards of conduct for all members as well as procedures for investigating and reporting any allegations of abuse or misconduct to the appropriate civil authorities.
The policies and procedures implemented by the Marists are accredited by Praesidium, Inc. (www.praesidiuminc.com), a national organization that works with religious and other institutions to establish and maintain rigorous standards for protecting children and vulnerable adults. Praesidium provides consultation, risk management, assessment, policy development, and training materials for use in preventing sexual misconduct and responding to allegations of sexual misconduct.
Our province maintains Praesidium accreditation through periodic audits by independent auditors and ongoing training for each member to establish awareness, prevention, and proper response to allegations of sexual misconduct per Praesidium’s accreditation standards. In addition, we conduct thorough background checks of all new members to identify any past behavior that might suggest future misconduct. We also participate in a process that involves lay people to help us implement these accreditation standards. When we have any questions, we consult with the Review Board.
We encourage anyone who has been abused by a member of the Marists to contact the appropriate authorities, regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred. We recognize that abuse of any kind causes lasting pain and damage for the abused and their families as well as the larger Catholic community. We continue to offer compassion, prayers and support for all survivors of abuse and strive to make sure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.
Q: When a Marist is alleged to have abused a young person, what happens?
A: Anytime an allegation of sexual abuse is made against a Marist, that man is removed from ministry until a full investigation is conducted. If the information gathered shows that he is guilty of the abuse, he is permanently removed from public ministry as a priest or brother.
Since we Marists are members of a religious community, we are responsible for providing housing for our men, whether they are in active ministry, retired, or infirmed. In a similar fashion, we provide for our men who are guilty of abuse under appropriate supervision.
Q: What has been the response to victims of sexual abuse by Marists?
A: We have been caring, responsible and just in our response to sexual abuse.
Caring: The Child Protection Coordinator and Provincial offer to listen to anyone who alleges abuse if they are receptive to that invitation. There are times when they are prohibited by law to meet with alleged victims because a suit has been filed and offering to meet them may be seen as potentially interfering.
Responsible: We Marists have offered to help with the healing of abuse by providing counseling to anyone who has alleged abuse against one of our members. We work to support those who are struggling and to speak to their pain in a genuinely heart-felt manner.
Just: In addition to offering to provide for counseling and expressing genuine sorrow for their pain, we seek to render justice to anyone alleging abuse in any way that is appropriate to the particular set of circumstances.
Q: What is your advice to anyone who may have been abused?
A: Get help as soon as possible, and report the abuse to the appropriate authorities. The pain of sexual abuse is deep, and healing is a necessary part of recovering the wholeness that is lost to the evil of sexual abuse. The suffering caused by this evil, especially when inflicted by a priest, brother, or seminarian, needs the attention of trained professionals to begin a process of healing.
It is our prayer that anyone impacted by sexual abuse would come forward. Please contact Fr. Ted Keating, SM, Child Protection Coordinator, if you are seeking help or have additional questions. Please submit the form below for assistance or call at 202.529.2821. He will guide a person who has been abused through the different steps of seeking help and healing.
To report abuse, please fill out the form below.