BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has reconstituted the Sexual Misconduct Review Board of the Diocese of Bridgeport with the announcement of new board members, renewal of current members and the retirement of long-time members of the board.
The bishop said that adding of new board members is consistent with certain recommendations of Retired Connecticut Superior Court Justice Robert Holzberg included in his Clerical Sexual Abuse Accountability Report on sexual abuse in our diocese that was issued in October after a year-long, independent investigation.
Among the judge’s recommendations for the Review Board was the recruitment of members with strong mental health experience, as well as the addition of more women, abuse survivors and family members of survivors. The judge’s report also recommended that the diocese maintain “an accessible list of Review Board members’ credentials and board mission.” Board members and their brief bios are available on the diocesan website, “Pledge to Protect (www.bridgeportdiocese.org/pledge.)The web page outlines the full and comprehensive child safety programs of the diocese and the measures taken to achieve the mission of the board, that is, to prevent abuse, heighten awareness of warning signs, investigate allegations and remove abusers.
“At a time when we welcome new board members, I am also deeply grateful to all of those who have served over the years and continue to serve in this most difficult capacity. They have acted with great integrity and responsibility in all of their deliberations. The review board has also helped us move forward in areas of prevention, early detection and evaluation of all reported cases of abuse,” said Bishop Caggiano.
“Their collective professional experience and personal discernment have provided a valuable service during a time of crisis. Members of the board have played an integral and active role in ensuring that the protection of children remains of greatest importance to the Diocese of Bridgeport and its mission.”
Review Board members, effective as of January 2020, include:
Thomas V. Ayoub, M.D., Chief of medical staff at Norwalk Hospital (retired) and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the hospital. He received his undergraduate degree in 1976 from New York University. He earned his medical degree in 1984. Dr. Ayoub is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is also certified as a Menopause Practitioner by the North American Menopause Society. He’s an active member of St. Aloysius Parish in New Canaan.
Bill Hoey, MAHCM, LCSW, is vice president of Mission Integration, St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, part of Hartford Healthcare. Prior to joining St. Vincent’s, Hoey served as vice president for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Bridgeport, overseeing all aspects of the multi-program agency including the implementation of a program of clergy and victim assistance counseling for victims of sexual abuse. He also serves on the Sacred Heart University Nursing Department Advisory Board. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from St. Anselm’s College, a master’s in social work from Fordham University, and a master’s in Health Care Mission from the Aquinas Institute of Theology in Saint Louis.
Rev. Lawrence F. Carew, is the retired pastor of Christ the King parish in Trumbull since January 2017, shortly after celebrating his 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. During his career, Father Carew served at St. Peter Church in Danbury, St. Theresa in Trumbull and St. Joseph in Danbury as well as being active in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He is the co-author of an inner healing retreat for abuse victims entitled “Disregarding the Shame, Reaching Out for the Joy” that has gained national and international recognition. He also continues his work in prison ministry, as well as healing prayer counseling.
Amy Favano, Master of Elementary Education—Amy is a resident of Norwalk who attended St. Thomas the Apostle School and Central Catholic High School. She has a bachelor’s of science from the Boston College, Carroll School of Management and a master’s in Elementary Education from Fairfield University. She worked for ADP and BIC Corporation and spent over 10 years as a Girl Scout troop leader. Amy is a member of St. Philip parish in Norwalk where she has been a religious education instructor, a volunteer for Midnight Run and a leader for the middle school students for the 30 Hour Famine.
Bernadette Griffin, LPC—Bernadette is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of CT. She received a bachelor’s in Psychology and master’s in Mental Health Counseling and Applied Psychology from Lynn University. She has worked with individuals convicted of committing sexual offenses, conducting risk assessments, evaluations and providing individual, group and family counseling. She has facilitated trainings on Child Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention for the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Safe Environment Office and has experience working in inpatient mental health/substance abuse facilities, partial hospitalization programs and schools. Bernadette is a Professional Member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA).
Kevin C. Kelly, Esq., Kevin is a practicing attorney and owner of Kevin Kelly & Associates, P.C. In addition to his legal experience, Kevin serves as director emeritus of the Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging and as a Connecticut State Senator— 21st District representing Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford. Kevin was a former investigator for the Connecticut Department of Social Services. He and his spouse Cindy have four children, six grandchildren and reside in Stratford. Kevin C. Kelly is a parishioner at Our Lady of Peace in Stratford, where he is also a lector.
Sgt. Sal Calise is a Norwalk Police Sergeant and has served in Norwalk for over 24 years. His experience includes the Patrol Division, Community Policing, Narcotics, DEA task force, Detective Bureau and both Detective Bureau and Patrol Division supervisor. He is a Tactical Team leader and formerly a Scuba Team member. Sal has advanced training in major crime investigations, narcotic investigations and interrogations. Sal also served as Home School President for three years for All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk. Sal has lived in Fairﬁeld County his entire life and has been a parishioner at St. Matthew Church in Norwalk for over 30 years.
Anne O. McCrory is the chief legal and real estate officer of the Diocese of Bridgeport. She served as chancellor of the Diocese of Bridgeport from February 2012 to 2014. She currently serves as the corporate secretary for several diocesan boards and foundations and is a trustee at Albertus Magnus College. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College and is a parishioner of St. Anthony Parish in Fairfield.
Erin Neil, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., is director of Safe Environments and victims assistance coordinator for the diocese. She completed a bachelor’s in Psychology from Xavier University and a master’s in Clinical Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University. She served in management and social work positions with Star, Inc., Norwalk, CT, A.H.R.C. Huntington, N.Y. and St. Christopher Ottilie, Sea Cliff, N.Y. She has 22 years of experience working with adults and children who experience abuse, neglect, intellectual disabilities and co-occurring disorders.
Two members who are finishing their terms on the review board are Liane Pioli, a clinical psychologist from Easton and Dr. Thomas Flynn, a retired pediatrician from New Canaan. Both have served on the board since 2002. According to Anne McCrory, chief legal and real estate officer for the diocese, “The time and commitment given by Liane and Tom to the work of the board, dating back to the unprecedented time in the early 2000’s and continuing to the demanding effort over the past year has been nothing short of heroic. The diocese owes each of them a tremendous debt for their service. Both Bishops Lori and Caggiano are lucky to have had the benefit of their experience and dedication for these many years.”
The review board, formed in 2002 by Bishop Lori to consult with the bishop and implement policies related to the sexual abuse of minors, was created in order to comply with The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Charter), established by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in June 2002 and revised in June, 2011 and 2015. The Charter recommends a mostly lay, non-employee review board whose experience should include psychology, social work, children’s rights, law enforcement, canon and civil law, personnel administration and pastoral care. The Diocese of Bridgeport was found to be in full compliance with the Charter in each independent audit performed since the beginning of this audit process in 2003.
In the past, the diocesan review board was responsible for advising the bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors in his determination of a cleric’s suitability for ministry after the allegation was first reported to proper authorities. The procedures for reporting suspected abuse of a minor in the Diocese of Bridgeport include a report to the diocesan victim’s assistance coordinator and the CT Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) or the police.
Effective in 2019, the review board expanded its review to include review of past allegations against deceased clergy. This expansion was done out of respect for victims who may have come forward after the cleric had died and in order to be transparent for those victims who may not yet have come forward. The bishop commented that “This expansion of the scope of review has been a difficult, time-consuming and arduous task for the review board and I am most grateful for their ongoing commitment to the need for healing and transparency in matters of abuse” said the bishop. The board is also working towards policies for review of allegations by vulnerable adults based on the recent indications from Pope Francis regarding this population.
Diocesan policy requires any employee or volunteer of the Diocese of Bridgeport, who has actual knowledge of or has reasonable cause to suspect misconduct against a minor by any personnel of the diocese whether the abuse occurred recently or in the past, must report that information immediately to the diocesan victim’s assistance reporting line. The victim assistance coordinator will report all allegations involving suspected abuse of a minor’s allegations to DCF and/or the police.
Likewise, mandated reporters (teachers, social workers, etc.) must also directly report any incident of sexual abuse, or other forms of abuse involving a minor to the State of Connecticut Child Abuse and Neglect Careline. Anyone in the community who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused or is in danger of abuse may make a report to the Careline.
To report suspected abuse contact: Erin Neil, LCSW, Diocesan Director of Safe Environments and Victim Assistance Coordinator: 203.650.3265 or Michael Tintrup, LCSW, Victim Assistance Counselor, 203.241.0987. Mandated reporters must also directly report any incident of sexual abuse of a minor to: The State of Connecticut Child Abuse and Neglect Careline: 1.800.842.2288. To read the complete Safe Environments policies of the diocese and to view additional information visit the diocesan website.
To register to attend VIRTUS, Protecting God’s Children for Adults, please visit www.virtusonline.org. Select registration and select Bridgeport Diocese.