Former federal judge Barbara S. Jones will now be in charge of a review that examines how the Archdiocese of New York handles all sex abuse cases and whether they are following the protocols set out by the bishop’s conference in 2002. The review was ordered by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan in the hope of restoring some of the trust Catholics in the area have placed in the diocese.
According to the New York Times, she will not only look into whether the Archdiocese is working to protect minors, but also whether the current workplace policies have the ability to protect adults from sexual harassment and abuse of power both in the church and in seminary.
In a news conference, Cardinal Dolan said the motivation behind this review was the number of church members who had continually come to him out of concern for the welfare of the church thanks to the continuing allegations, especially those made against Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick. During the news conference, he pled for Judge Jones’ help in offering recommendations and insights into how to repair the damage already done.
Judge Jones will be considered special counsel and independent reviewer and will be given full access to all case files and personnel files. She will report to Cardinal Dolan, and he has said he will report back to the church. Judge Jones is being paid by the diocese. She has not currently offered a timeline for her review.
Some victims’ advocates groups have suggested this is simply a way for the church to get out ahead of a new investigation into the church by the attorney general of New York.