Communications Policy

 Communications Policy

  

In full agreement with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Young People, Bishop Salvatore R. Matano and the Diocese of Rochester pledge ongoing and proactive communication that is open and transparent, and which works to create a safe environment for children, teen-agers and vulnerable adults. At all times, our communications will be honest, accurate and candid, always balancing the dissemination of information with the protection of the rights and privacy of all concerned, especially the victims of alleged sexual abuse.

  

To that end, the diocese will use all forms of communication possible to proactively educate and inform internally its employees and volunteers and externally the public about its efforts to create a safe environment for all, especially children, teen-agers and vulnerable adults. These tools will include use of both church and secular media, training sessions, video and published training materials, parish communications and electronic forms of communication such as the World Wide Web.

  

  

  • The diocese will employ its own communication vehicles and the news media to create an atmosphere of encouragement and welcome for all those who wish to come forward with allegations of abuse. The diocese will publish on its web site and in press materials when applicable the contact information for appropriate diocesan officials who receive such reports.
  • The diocese will promptly report to the appropriate authorities allegations of sexual abuse regardless of the time frame in which the abuse occurred.
  • The diocese will disseminate publicly its policies and procedures for dealing with both allegations of and confirmed cases of sexual abuse through its own communication tools and the media.
  • The diocese will respond to all media inquiries concerning sexual abuse allegations with as much candor and cooperation as possible, always seeking to balance this pledge with sensitivity to the rights, reputation and privacy of all concerned—especially, and above all, the alleged victims of abuse. When and if the diocese declines to release information, it pledges to stipulate publicly why it is declining and to state its reasonable belief of when such information may become publicly available. As a matter of policy and to protect the rights of both plaintiff(s) and defendant(s), the diocese will decline to comment in matters of pending litigation, so as not to “try the case in the media” and thus affect or influence ongoing legal proceedings in any way.
  • All media inquiries involving reports or allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy and others in diocesan ministries, including information regarding the actions of the Review Board established to investigate allegations, should be directed to the Diocesan Director of Communications, who will act as sole spokesperson to the media in such inquiries unless otherwise directed by the Bishop’s Office.