Allegation Procedures

Initial Allegation

When allegations are directed to the General Superior/Provincial./Pro-region superior or a member of the Leadership Team, they will assure the accuser that the accusation will be taken seriously and that the charges will be investigated. When the allegation involves a Province, the General Superior will inform the Provincial Superior who follows the steps outlined in this procedure.

When the allegation involves a Pro-Region, the General Superior is the legitimate authority and is responsible. She consults with the Pro-Regional Superior in following the steps outlined in the Procedure of this Policy.

In the Provinces, the Provincial is responsible for the following procedures. In the Pro-Regions, the General Superior along with the Pro-Region Superior is responsible for the following:

The appropriate Superior will encourage the accuser to fill out a written complaint. If the accuser is not comfortable with the form, he/she may complete their own form in writing as best they can. The accuser is free to supplement the form or add any information to the questions posed. The Provincial shall inform the accuser that only with a written document can a thorough investigation be conducted.

The appropriate Superior will notify the congregation’s legal counsel who will report the allegation to the legal authorities. If it appears that the allegation may lead to a monetary claim, she will also notify the insurance company.

The appropriate Superior will inform the accused of the allegation. If it is determined by the that the Sister poses a risk to others in her current ministry she will be removed or reassigned until completion of the investigation. All applicable criminal statutes will be complied with.

The Leadership Team will appoint designated personnel consisting of a Conduct Coordinator and Review Board. The Conduct Coordinator will act responsibly to search out the truth of the allegation.

After receiving the written complaint, the Conduct Coordinator will meet with the accuser to review it. He/she will assure the accuser of concern for her/his wellbeing and healing and the intention of investigating the charges that have been brought forth.

The Conduct Coordinator will meet with the accused to inform her of the allegation, to review her rights, to offer appropriate assistance and to apprise her of procedures. The accused will be advised that what she says may not be privileged information and she has a right to not respond to the allegations, but may wish to seek legal counsel who will be provided for her by Provincial Leadership.

If there is a serious discrepancy in the accounts of the accuser and the accused, the Conduct Coordinator will utilize any other available resources needed to further the investigation. The Conduct Coordinator will report to the appropriate Superior and the Review Board, giving a complete and accurate summary of the initial investigation.

The Leadership Team will appoint a Review Board of no less than three members to determine whether there is a basis in fact to substantiate the allegation and to make appropriate recommendations to the Leadership Team regarding the issue.

The Review Board shall receive the report of the Conduct Coordinator to determine the credibility of the accusation.

If the Review Board determines that no basis in fact exists or if civil authority results in a determination that the charges were unfounded, the Board may recommend that the Sister continue in or be returned to ministry.

If the Review Board determines that a basis in fact exists to substantiate the allegation, it will recommend administrative leave for the Sister. The Board may also recommend remedies for the victim. They shall notify both the diocese where the alleged misconduct took place as well as the current diocese where the Sister ministers. They shall notify appropriate civil authorities. All deliberations of the Review Board shall be confidential.

The findings of the Review Board shall be communicated by the Board to Leadership and by the Conduct Coordinator to the accuser and the accused.

The Review Board may be requested to provide advice on other matters involving misconduct, regardless of whether a complaint has been filed.


As a vowed religious, the accused maintains her right to live in community. The Superior will help her find a community that provides the security and support needed during the process.

The assistance of a spiritual director should be offered to help the Sister through the process. A competent psychologist or therapist, familiar with the life and issues of religious women, will be made available to the Sister.

The Sister may choose to consult a canon lawyer regarding her rights and obligations. She may also select a civil lawyer with the prior approval of the Superior.