Concern for Victims

The Diocese of St. Petersburg acknowledges the pain and suffering victims endure and we recognize the courage that is required to speak about abuse. We express a profound sense of solidarity and concern for victims and when victims come forward, we provide counseling and spiritual assistance, and other support services as deemed appropriate.

We pray that victims will have the courage to speak out about their abuse so that they can begin the healing process and their abusers can be identified.

Anyone who has been abused or is aware of abuse is urged to call law enforcement and the Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873. We also encourage anyone abused by Church personnel (clergy, a church employee or volunteer) or a contractor/vendor, to call the Victim Assistance Minister, John Lambert, LCSW. He can be reached by phone at 1-866-407-4505 or by email at jl@dosp.org. He is available to coordinate pastoral care and assistance and answer questions.

We respond promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred. We have a Victim Assistance Minister to coordinate assistance for the immediate pastoral care of persons who report having been sexually abused as minors by clergy or other church personnel.

In compliance with the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Diocese of St. Petersburg has a Review Board that functions as a confidential consultative body to the bishop. The majority of its members are lay persons not employed by the diocese. This board advises the bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors and in his determination of a cleric’s suitability for ministry.

In addition to our diocesan Review Board, lay members of the faithful also comprise parts of our diocesan Seminary Board and our Diaconate Admissions and Scrutinies Board. Both consultative bodies assist the bishop in reviewing and interviewing potential candidates for the priesthood and diaconate.

We do not enter into settlements which bind the parties to confidentiality unless the victim/survivor requests confidentiality and this request is noted in the text of the agreement.