An Important Letter to Parishioners

Updated September 7, 2018

Dear Parishioners of St. Hugo of the Hills,

By now you are very well aware of the Grand Jury report out of Pennsylvania.  Today, news came that all eight Catholic dioceses in the state of New York have been subpoenaed as part of the Attorney General’s investigation into the handling of sex-abuse cases.  Undoubtedly, more states will follow.

So, a logical question emerges: “When will this happen in the Archdiocese of Detroit?”

In a spirit of transparency, and respecting your right to be kept informed, we want to take this opportunity to share with you some important facts:

·Civil authorities already have our files. Back in 2002, the Archdiocese of Detroit signed voluntary agreements with the prosecutors from all six counties within its boundaries to share case files of priests accused of sexual misconduct in previous years. Prosecutors at the time described it as “the most extensive agreement regarding the disclosure of information on sexual abuse in the United States.” This agreement remains in place today: Since 2002, every complaint that comes in, regardless of its source or the date of the alleged activity, is reported to civil authorities. No complaints are held back, pre-screened or disregarded.

·The Archdiocese of Detroit has no time limitations on those bringing forward complaints of clerical sexual abuse.  Whether the abuse occurred five, 15, or more than 50 years ago, victims are encouraged to come forward.  Those wishing to report abuse can contact the Victims Assistance Coordinator, a licensed social worker, at 866-343-8055 or . Individuals are also encouraged to contact civil authorities.

·Since the release in 2002 of operating policies and procedures required in The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (The Dallas Charter) by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Archdiocese of Detroit has been audited every year by an independent firm to ensure compliance. The 2017 audit was conducted on-site and included visits to four parishes. The Archdiocese of Detroit was “was found compliant with all audited Articles” within the charter.

·A full website, https://protect.aod.org/ been developed by the Archdiocese of Detroit to serve as a digital platform by which information regarding cases of sexual abuse can be shared and processes understood.

·The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently announced it is assembling a body of lay people, legal and medical experts, Vatican officials, and some U.S. clergy to address – on a national scope – “the moral catastrophe” that has unraveled, to put into place “… stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who would conceal them.” This is an important – and necessary – first step. One of its stated goals is to hold bishops to the “highest standards of transparency and accountability.” Archbishop Vigneron pledged his support of bishop accountability in his letter to the priests and faithful, released the day before the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

Know that we hold you in our prayers daily. Please continue to pray for us and with us for healing in our Church!

Your servants in the Lord,

Rev. Msgr. Anthony M. Tocco, Pastor
Rev. Mario V. Amore, Associate Pastor

 


Updated August 14, 2018

Dear Parishioners,

Many of you are aware of the recent news regarding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the impending grand jury report that is scheduled to be released later today in the state of Pennsylvania detailing sexual abuse by clergy dating back to 1947. We are deeply saddened and extremely disturbed by these reports. Abuse of any kind, by anyone, at any time, especially at the hands of clergy, is reprehensible and gravely sinful. We understand that you, the faithful, rightly expect and deserve more from the ordained members of the Church.

On the day of our respective ordinations, we made a promise to God and the Church that we would lead lives of celibate chastity. In the midst of the turmoil that our Church once again faces, we reaffirm that promise to you, our parishioners, so that we might be a sign of the Kingdom of God and dedicate our lives totally in service to you and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Additionally, we take the safety of all of our parishioners, especially the young and vulnerable, very seriously. As a pastoral staff and a parish community, we have taken steps to ensure the safety of all of our members and visitors. Each member of the staff, including the priests and religious, as well as all volunteers, are required to complete Protecting God’s Children and a criminal background check. We also require the completion of a monthly training bulletin regarding the protection of young people.

Very recently our parish and school have invested in state-of-the-art cameras for monitoring and recording of key areas of the church and school buildings—inside and out. You have also noticed an active presence of the Bloomfield Hills Police Department during Sunday and school liturgies. We continue to strive to provide the safest environment for you and your loved ones.

During this time of darkness, we trust that the Light of Christ continues to shine in the Church. We ask for your prayers during these most painful moments especially for those who have been abused by members of the clergy.

In response to recent events, the Archbishop of Detroit, Allen H. Vigneron, has also released a statement which you can find below.

Archbishop Vigneron's Letter to the Faithful

Your servants in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Anthony M. Tocco - Pastor
Rev. Mario V. Amore - Associate Pastor

 

Reporting Sexual Abuse:

The Archdiocese of Detroit places no deadlines or time limits on reporting the sexual abuse of minors by priests, deacons, and other personnel. Be it five, fifteen, or 50 years later, our diocese accepts and responds to all reports.

To speak to the Victim Assistance Coordinator, please call (866) 343-8055 or email vac@aod.org.