April 4, 2008

Page 6

6 The Catholic News & Herald

in the news

Order priest arrested on sex abuse charges Diocese unaware of police investigation into allegations by


special to the catholic news & herald

CHARLOTTE — A religious order priest who once served in the Diocese of Charlotte was arrested April 2 on sexual abuse charges involving a minor. Capuchin Franciscan Father Robert Yurgel was taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Passaic, N.J., where he lives, on a warrant issued by CharlotteMecklenburg police. He will be extradited to Charlotte. The warrant alleges five counts of indecent liberties with a child and two counts of statutory sex offense that allegedly took place with a minor in 1999, while Father Yurgel was a parochial vicar at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte. Father Yurgel served as parochial vicar at the church from 1997 until 1999. After this time, he served briefly at Our Lady of Consolation Church in Charlotte. The alleged victim, now in his early 20s, only recently reported the matter to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. Diocesan officials were not made aware of the allegations or the investigation prior to the April 2 announcement of the arrest by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. Under the provisions of the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Diocese of Charlotte is required to report allegations of sexual misconduct by church workers to civil authorities. No allegations regarding Father Yurgel were reported to the diocese. Since the diocese adopted the charter in 2002, more than 16,300 diocesan employees and church volunteers have attended the diocese’s sex-abuse awareness training program,

“Protecting God’s Children.” The diocese conducts background checks on employees and volunteers to safeguard the young and the vulnerable. More than 2,400 background checks were conducted during the last fiscal year. The training and background checks are ongoing. In June 2002 at a meeting in Dallas, the U.S. bishops adopted the charter and its mandates for an annual audit and survey and also adopted the “Essential Norms” to assure that all dioceses adhere to the charter. The charter also established the Office of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board to oversee compliance with the charter. The Diocese of Charlotte has been found in compliance with the charter. The charter was updated in 2005, the norms in 2006. The charter and norms have Vatican approval. David Hains is communications director for the Diocese of Charlotte.

April 4, 2008

Diocesan requirements for reporting ministry-related sexual abuse of a minor 1. Any individual having actual knowledge of or reasonable cause to suspect an incident of ministry-related sexual abuse is to immediately report the incident to the Chancery. 2. The Chancery will then report the incident to the proper civil authorities. The individual reporting the incident to the Chancery will be notified of the particulars regarding the Chancery’s filing of the incident with civil authorities. 3. This reporting requirement is not intended to supersede the right of an individual to make a report to civil authority, but is to ensure proper, complete and timely reporting. Should an individual choose to make a report to civil authority, a report is still to be made to the Chancery.

NEED ASSISTANCE? As a part of its commitment to support the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” the Diocese of Charlotte has appointed a coordinator to assist survivors of sexual abuse. The assistance coordinator can help survivors of abuse whether the incident took place in the Diocese of Charlotte or in another diocese.  The current coordinator is David Harold. Contact him at (704) 370-3363 or  dwharold@charlottediocese.org.

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