Statement on Safe Environment at Daylesford Abbey
Office of the Abbot – August 28, 2012
In 2007, Delaware passed the Child Victim Act which resulted in a two year removal of the statute of limitations for civil claims involving allegations of sexual abuse of minors. During that two year period, Daylesford Abbey was named as a defendant in four separate lawsuits in Delaware involving allegations of sexual abuse from as early as the 1950s to the early 1980s. In one case, the anonymous plaintiff withdrew his lawsuit voluntarily. In another, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed Daylesford Abbey as a defendant. The other two cases resulted in settlements.
First, I express my gratitude to all survivors of sexual abuse who have the courage to come forward to express their stories of abuse. Abuse of a minor is obviously contemptible, criminal behavior which leaves deep and lasting scars. I apologize to anyone who has been abused, injured, or harmed by a Norbertine priest or brother. I extend this apology to the family members of victims as well.
Second, I want to assure you that Daylesford Abbey is fully committed to protecting all children and young people. Since 2002, Daylesford Abbey has worked with Praesidium, Inc. — a leading consultant in the United States on abuse risk management and safe environments — to establish a long-term program of education, prevention, and accountability in response to the tragedy of child sexual abuse. Daylesford Abbey has worked with Praesidium over the past ten years to:
- Review and revise its Sexual Misconduct Policy;
- Develop protocols and mechanisms for responding to reports of abuse;
- Establish an independent review board to consider allegations of abuse;
- Emphasize and practice public accountability;
- Train its members in the protection of minors; and
- Develop methods of intervention, care, treatment, and follow-up supervision for any member in need.
In September, 2008, Daylesford Abbey successfully completed the Praesidium Accreditation Process and became a fully Accredited Institute. Praesidium audited Daylesford Abbey again in 2011, and the Abbey was re-accredited in January, 2012. We have committed to future audits by Praesidium or similar credentialed consultants not less frequently than every five years.
Third, I recognize that more healing must take place. I invite anyone who has been harmed by a Norbertine priest or brother to seek healing. If we can help in this process, please contact our Pastoral Outreach Representative at 610-647-2530, Ext. 121. As an effort towards healing, I have decided to disclose below the name of a former member of Daylesford Abbey against whom there have been admitted or substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. I also will disclose in the future the names of any living priests, former priests, or lay employees against whom there are admitted or substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Please know that Daylesford Abbey’s strict policy is that any living member against whom there are such admitted or substantiated allegations is permanently removed from active ministry.
In closing, we recognize that much needs to transpire for healing to take place and trust to be restored. Daylesford Abbey is committed to do its part to foster such healing and trust. My expression of sorrow and commitment here is an effort to contribute to the healing that I hope survivors of abuse will experience. I ask that you join me in prayer for the survivors of sexual abuse that they find healing and peace.
(Rt. Rev.) Richard J. Antonucci, O. Praem.
Abbot, Daylesford Abbey