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New York: Archdiocese Announces Initiative in Response to Abuse Crisis

Judge Barbara Jones to Serve as ‘Special Counsel and Independent Reviewer’

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, announced September 20, 2018, that Judge Barbara S. Jones, former Federal Judge, and prosecutor, has accepted his invitation to serve as “Special Counsel and Independent Reviewer” to review, evaluate, and recommend improvements to the Archdiocese of New York’s response to the sexual abuse crisis currently confronting the Church.

In announcing Judge Jones’ appointment, the Cardinal asked her to undertake a comprehensive and exhaustive study of the policies, procedures, and protocols of the archdiocese in its response to allegations of abuse of a young person by a priest, deacon, or a bishop, and promised her complete access to archdiocesan records and personnel, including to Cardinal Dolan personally.  The Cardinal asked her to make recommendations on how to improve these existing child protection policies and procedures, and also to assist him in other areas, including developing new protocols for dealing with allegations of abuse of position or power with adults.

Barbara S. Jones is a former judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. During her 16-year term on the U.S. District Court, Judge Jones presided over a diverse range of cases, including employment discrimination, contract claims, accounting and securities fraud, antitrust, labor racketeering and terrorism. In May 2010, Judge Jones was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve on the seven-member Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation; she served on the panel until October 2012.

Prior to her nomination to the bench in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, she served as Chief Assistant to Robert M. Morgenthau, then-District Attorney of New York County. Previously, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she was the first woman to be named Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force.

She currently serves as Partner at Bracewell LLP and focuses her practice on compliance issues, internal investigations, arbitrations, mediations, and corporate monitorships.

In accepting the Cardinal’s invitation to serve in this new role, Judge Jones said, “I approach this important assignment with an open mind and a clear understanding of the scope and scale of the issues that challenge the Archdiocese. I have already begun an initial review of the Archdiocese efforts, some dating back over 25 years.  Based upon this initial review, I see a robust infrastructure in place within the Archdiocese.  My job now will be to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing programs and policies in that infrastructure –– identify deficiencies – and recommend enhancements or new policies and procedures.”

Cardinal Dolan concluded his invitation to Judge Jones saying, “I need your help if I am going to respond to my people’s plea for accountabilitytransparency, 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.”

Judge Jones will begin her work immediately.

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