Protecting Our Children from Sexual Abuse


Pope Francis reflects on abuse.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released the “2022 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” Click here.

Did you know what is happening in the Diocese of Wilmington, and all dioceses in the United States, to protect children?

• Training is provided for all adults and youth to identify warning signs and develop
strategies for maintaining a safe environment for all.
• A designated Victim Assistance/Safe Environment Coordinator is available to receive reports and accompany victims through their journey and assists parish and school personnel with training and background screenings for anyone who may have access to children.
• A volunteer independent Review Board assists the bishop in the review of cases and makes recommendations for moving forward.
• An audit is conducted by an independent firm to evaluate implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Findings are incorporated with those of other dioceses and is available in an Annual Report.

The Catholic community in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore – our diocese – and the Church as a whole, have worked hard to protect our precious children. We must all remain vigilant until child sexual abuse is no longer a part of society. What has the Diocese of Wilmington and the Catholic Church in the United States done to respond to sexual abuse by church personnel and protect our children? Here in the Diocese of Wilmington, over 21,000 volunteers, coaches, priests, deacons, youth leaders, teachers and candidates for ordination have had their backgrounds checked and have taken the For the Sake of God’s Children safe environment training.

An Independent audit has shown that the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is being followed in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Click here for details.

If you’ve been sexually exploited or abused by a priest, brother, sister or lay person employed by the Diocese of Wilmington or by a church volunteer in service to a parish or school or other church organization; we want to help you.

We realize that bringing a misconduct complaint to authorities and/or to the Diocese of Wilmington can be a frightening experience and we want to make the process as safe and as comfortable as possible. We promise to be open and respectful of your complaint.

The policy of the Diocese of Wilmington regarding persons who file complaints regarding past incidences of childhood sexual abuse by a priest or other church personnel is to (a) listen carefully to the allegation, (b) report to and cooperate with civil authority, (c) provide spiritual and psychological counseling to a survivor, and, if necessary, to the survivor’s family, and (d) to reimburse the survivor of such abuse for any documented out of pocket expenses for counseling paid up to the time of the complaint.

We are sorry for the pain you have experienced.

How to notify the Diocese of Wilmington:

Call the diocesan Survivor Assistance Coordinator, Michael D. Connelly at 302-295-0668. Mr. Connelly will take the information about the abuse, offer to arrange counseling and will ask your permission to advise church officials, specifically the Vicar General of the Diocese, about your complaint.

We can also help you bring your complaint to church officials outside the Diocese of Wilmington if the abuse occurred in another diocese or church jurisdiction and you now reside in Delaware or on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OR INTERFERENCE BY A BISHOP: If you have reason to believe that a bishop has engaged in sexual misconduct* or has interfered with an investigation into sexual misconduct, please click here or visit

* Under Pope Francis’s Vos estis lux mundi and the Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the following forms of misconduct by bishops should be reported using this dedicated reporting system: 1) forcing someone, by violence or threat or through abuse of authority, to perform or submit to sexual acts; 2) performing sexual acts with a minor or a vulnerable person; 3) the production, exhibition, possession or distribution, including by electronic means, of child pornography, as well as by the recruitment of or inducement of a minor or a vulnerable person to participate in pornographic exhibitions; and 4) actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil investigations or canonical investigations, whether administrative or penal, against a cleric or a religious regarding the misconduct referred to in 1-3 above.

¿Ha sufrido usted la explotación o el abuso sexual por parte de un sacerdote, de un monje, de una monja, de un laico empleado de la Diócesis de Wilmington, o de algún voluntario de parroquia, de escuela o de otra organización de la iglesia? Estamos aquí para ayudarle.

Comprendemos que puede causar temor la presentación de una acusación de comportamiento inaceptable a las autoridades públicas o a la Diócesis de Wilmington. Por eso queremos que el procedimiento le resulte lo más seguro y cómodo posible. Prometemos mantener la mente abierta y respetar su queja.

Lamentamos el dolor que usted ha experimentado.

Cómo registrar su queja:

Favor de tomar en cuenta el hecho de que la ley requiere que informemos a las autoridades correspondientes del abuso de una persona que tenga actualmente menos de 18 años.

Para las víctimas ya mayores de 18 años, les aconsejamos con insistencia reportar el abuso a las autoridades apropiadas.

Cómo notificar a la Diócesis de Wilmington:

Llame a la Coordinadora de Survivor Assistance (Asistencia a Sobrevivientes), Michael Connelly al teléfono 302-295-0668. Mr. Connelly le tomará la información sobre el abuso, le ofrecerá consejo y le pedirá permiso para informarles de su queja a los oficiales de la iglesia, específicamente al Vicar General (representante eclesiástico general) de la Diócesis.

También podemos ayudarle a presentar queja ante oficiales eclesiásticos fuera de la diócesis de Wilmington, si el abuso ocurrió en otra diócesis o en otra jurisdicción, residiendo usted ahora en Delaware o en la Eastern Shore (costa oriental) de Maryland.