PROSPECT HEIGHTS — In an effort to enhance protections already in place to combat and prevent sexual abuse within the Church, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has created a new office that will oversee two existing departments as well as a new position.
Bishop DiMarzio has appointed Vice-Chancellor Jasmine Salazar to director of the Office of Protection of Children and Young People.
Prior to her promotion, which became effective on Nov. 5, Salazar headed the Office of Victim Assistance. Now she will oversee that office, the Safe Environment Office, and a new position — 1722 supervisor.
Once hired, this person will be responsible for monitoring priests who have been removed from ministry. The number 1722 refers to the section of Canon Law dealing with the removal of priests from ministry.
Salazar, who was named the diocese’s first female layperson vice-chancellor in 2018, will be responsible for keeping track of all allegations of misconduct, making sure they are properly referred to the Diocesan Review Board for investigation and tracking the progress of those investigations.
In addition, Salazar will serve as the liaison between the diocese and the New York City Police Department’s Special Victims Unit. Salazar, who called her work “challenging and deeply fulfilling,” said she is ready to tackle her new responsibilities.
“Being able to work with those who are survivors of abuse and accompanying them on their journey has been a true honor and privilege,” she said. “This new role will enable me to continue with this work as well as collaborate with other committed individuals who seek to bring hope and healing to the faithful.”
Bishop DiMarzio said the new office was created to enhance the strong programs the diocese already has in place.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn has worked hard to implement the requirements of the Dallas Charter since 2002 and has been nationally recognized for its robust Victim Assistance Ministry,” he said. “This move will solidify our ability to continue to provide safe environments for the faithful of the Diocese of Brooklyn and pastoral care for survivors of abuse.”
The Dallas Charter, established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002, is a set of procedures for dioceses to address clergy sex abuse allegations, offer healing for victims, and provide a safe environment for children.
In 2004, Bishop DiMarzio set up a telephone hotline for anyone to report allegations of sexual abuse by a clergy member. The diocese’s confidential reporting line connects directly to law enforcement authorities.
The phone number is 888-634-4499.
Each year, Bishop DiMarzio also celebrates a Mass of Hope and Healing with survivors and their loved ones.
The Victim Assistance Ministry provides a variety of services, including paying the cost of therapy for sex abuse survivors and offering support groups for survivors to offer them a sense of healing and closure.
Through the Safe Environment Office, led by its coordinator, Maryellen Quinn, the diocese requires background checks on all employees and volunteers at all levels for parishes and diocesan offices.
The office requires that anyone who is expected to come in contact with children take the diocese’s Safe Environment training through VIRTUS, an online tool utilized by the diocese in pursuing safe environments.