Dioceses in Boston Province Transition to Nationwide Reporting System





Dioceses in Boston Province Transition to

Nationwide Reporting System

Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service









April 3, 2020



In response to the apostolic letter by Pope Francis in May 2019 Vos Estes Lux Mundi, ("You are the Light of the World"), a new independent third-party reporting system is in place to receive allegations of sexual misconduct by U.S. bishops. The Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service, or CBAR, went live on March 16, 2020, and is now available for individuals who wish to file an allegation of misconduct involving a Bishop or Cardinal.


“This new third-party reporting system ensures any allegation of misconduct by a bishop or cardinal will be addressed thoroughly, independently and in a just manner,” said Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. “It is important that bishops and cardinals are held accountable for their actions in order that our people can have trust in the integrity and commitment of the Church in the protection of children. This system demonstrates the transparent process now integrated into the life of the Church and the seriousness upon which the Holy Father places in this process.” Cardinal Seán is the Archbishop of Boston and Metropolitan for the Boston Province.


This newly launched system replaces the existing EthicsPoint (link) instituted by the Boston Province in August 2019. The Boston Province includes the Archdiocese of Boston along with Fall River, Springfield and Worcester in Massachusetts and the dioceses of Portland, Maine, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Burlington, Vermont.


The Process

Reporting an allegation


There are two ways for individuals to file an allegation:


Phone, where trained personnel will receive the information regarding the allegation. The number to call is 1-800-276-1562


Online at https://reportbishopabuse.org/.

 *Individuals can remain anonymous if they choose in both instances.


Individuals who report an allegation will be provided a case number and password to access the online portal to monitor the progress of their allegation.


Individuals making a report will be encouraged to contact local law enforcement if they believe a crime has been committed.


Who receives it?


The information will be forwarded to the appropriate metropolitan (archbishop) from each Province


Allegations against a metropolitan will be forwarded to the senior suffragan bishop in the appropriate province.


The information also will be forwarded to a layperson designated to assist the metropolitan archbishop in receiving allegations.


Next steps by the Metropolitan & Nuncio


The metropolitan (or senior suffragan) will forward the report to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC.


The nuncio is required to send the report and the metropolitan’s assessment to the Vatican, which has 30 days to determine if a formal investigation is warranted.




If an investigation is ordered, it will be overseen by a bishop


Qualified experts, including laypeople, will conduct the review.


The investigation must be completed within 90 days and submitted to the Vatican for review.


The Vatican officials will determine the process leading to a final judgment.



The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting (CBAR) system will accept specific types of abuse allegations against bishops and cardinals:



Forced someone to perform or submit to sexual acts through violence, threat, or abuse of authority;


Performed sexual acts with a minor or vulnerable person;


Produced, exhibited, possessed, or distributed child pornography, or recruited or induced a minor or a vulnerable person to participate in pornographic exhibitions;


or, a diocesan or eparchial bishop, or a cleric overseeing a diocese/eparchy in the absence of a diocesan or eparchial bishop, who has intentionally interfered with a civil or church investigation into allegations of sexual abuse committed by another cleric or religious.



Complaints against priests, deacons, religious or lay members

CBAR does not replace existing reporting systems for complaints against priests, deacons, religious or laity. CBAR was designed to respond only to complaints against bishops for issues related to sexual misconduct.


The reporting of sexual misconduct by anyone in diocesan ministry who is not a bishop, such as priests, deacons, religious brothers and sisters, or lay persons working or volunteering for the Church will continue to be handled in accordance with the child protection policy established by the Charter for the Protection of Children.


For more information

To learn more about the policies and procedures related to the Archdiocese of Boston’s child protection efforts please visit https://commitment.bostoncatholic.org/.


For more information on the newly launched national reporting service and how it works, please visit: https://reportbishopabuse.org/.