Since 2002, when the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was adopted, each diocese must maintain an advisory board of mostly lay people not employed by the diocese to independently review allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy or other Church personnel.
The board hears testimony from victims, witnesses and accused clergy, and may employ a professional investigator to examine allegations and determine credibility. If it finds an allegation credible, the board recommends to the bishop any disciplinary action, pastoral care for the victim, and other responses. It periodically evaluates the effectiveness of the diocese’s policies and procedures related to the protection of minors, and offers advice and recommendations to the bishop.
In the Charlotte diocese, members of the Lay Review Board include an experienced pastor (as required by the Charter) and people with expertise in counseling/psychology, law enforcement, investigation, business, law, community affairs, and advocacy for the rights of children and victims. All board members share a commitment to ensuring the diocese is safeguarding children from sexual abuse by clergy or other Church personnel. Due to the highly sensitive and independent nature of their proceedings, their work is confidential.