Portland, Maine, Jun 25, 2019 / 11:48 am (CNA).- The Diocese of Portland announced Tuesday it will be using a third-party reporting system for violations of its standards of ethical conduct, such as fraud or harassment.
“Several months ago, after hearing from people around the state, the diocese started the process of establishing this system for individuals to express their concerns in an easily accessible way,” Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland said June 25. “The system is organized to ensure that these reports will be handled in a timely and thorough manner.”
The system will be operated by Red Flag Reporting, an ethics, safety, fraud, and whistleblower hotline based in Akron. According to its website, it was founded “by one of the nation’s largest CPA firms.”
Reports of violations of the diocese’s code of ethics will be made through Red Flag Reporting’s website or telephone hotline. Red Flag will oversee the handling of each complaint by the diocese.
It is not meant to be used for reporting sexual abuse of minors; the Portland diocese indicated that in those cases, civil authorities and its head of professional responsibility should be contacted.
The reporting system could be used to report such ethical violations as fraud, misconduct, safety violations, harassment, or substance abuse at parishes, schools, or the chancery.
Bishop Deeley said that “To ensure transparency and the success of this initiative, the Church needs the committed involvement of the laity. In partnering with Red Flag Reporting, the diocese is offering stronger protections against problematic activity.”
“It is gratifying to report that the protocols already implemented in the Diocese of Portland regarding the safety of children, through the vigilance of both clergy and laity, have helped to make our Church a safer place for all. Since many of the procedures began in 2002, there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric in the Diocese of Portland. We have similar hope for this new system of accountability.”