New York diocese appoints former federal judge to review sexual abuse policies

New York diocese appoints former federal judge to review sexual abuse policies

The Cardinal of the Archdiocese of New York on Thursday announced [press release] that he has secured outside assistance from a former federal judge and prosecutor to investigate church policies surrounding sexual abuse allegations.

Barbara Jones is a former judge who served on the bench for 16 years in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Between 2010 and 2012, Jones was appointed to serve on the federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation by Chief Justice Roberts. Prior to becoming a judge, Jones served as First Assistant District Attorney in New York County, Chief Assistant District Attorney of New York County and as an attorney for the Department of Justice. Jones is currently a partner at  Bracewell LLP.

The Cardinal asked Jones to conduct an “exhaustive study of the policies, procedures, and protocols” of the archdiocese when an accusation of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy is made. The Cardinal promised full, unfettered access for Jones of the archdiocese’s records, files and personnel. The Cardinal will also be placed at Jones’ full disposal.

I need your help if I am going to respond to my people’s plea for accountability, transparency, and action. I look forward to receiving your recommendations and your insights, and I pledge that I will take them all with utmost seriousness. And I want you to hold my feet to the fire, if you feel that I am not following through on the recommendations that you make.

Jones’ duties will commence immediately.