Washington (June 21, 2002) -- Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma chaired the first meeting of the core group of the national Review Board for the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Oklahoma City yesterday and today.
Governor Keating's appointment as chairman of the Review Board was announced by USCCB president Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville on June 14, shortly after the passage the Conference's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Present at the Oklahoma City meeting were Justice Ann M. Burke of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, and Mr. Robert S. Bennett of the Washington D.C. office of the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The appointments of Justice Burke and Mr. Bennett as members of the core group of the Review Board were also announced on June 14.
Also in attendance was a fourth core group member, Dr. Michael J. Bland of Chicago, who was appointed by Bishop Gregory this week.
Dr. Bland is Clinical-Pastoral Coordinator for Victim Assistance Ministry, Archdiocese of Chicago. He has worked directly with victims of sexual abuse by church personnel, including clergy, for ten years. Dr. Bland is himself a survivor of clergy sexual abuse as a minor. (See bio below).
The core group discussed additional members for the Board whose names will be recommended to Bishop Gregory. The core group expects the Board to reach its full complement by July 15.
Other actions discussed by the core group were Board procedures, the structure for the Office of the Child and Youth Protection, and the job description of the director.
Further discussion will take place when the full Board is in place.
Governor Keating said of the meeting, "This was an excellent initial meeting of the core members of this board which now includes very important victim representation.
"Obviously, our first goal is to complete the board. The names we are recommending to Bishop Gregory represent a true cross-section of Catholic society," he continued.
I look forward to additional discussions about the mission and future action of this board once all of the members are named, Governor Keating added.
Bishop Gregory expressed his satisfaction that Governor Keating and the other core group members went to work so quickly after last week's general meeting of the USCCB in Dallas.
"Protecting our children and preventing sexual abuse by clergy or anyone else in the Church demands the kind of immediate and dedicated attention that the core group is clearly committed to giving," he said.
The Reverend J. Cletus Kiley, USCCB staff member for the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, also attended the meeting.
BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Michael J. Bland
Dr. Michael J. Bland, Psy.D., D.Min., is Clinical-Pastoral Coordinator for Victim Assistance Ministry, Archdiocese of Chicago, and Clinical Counselor at the Center for Psychological Services, Oak Lawn, Ill. Dr. Bland has worked for ten years directly with victims of sexual abuse by church personnel, including clergy. He holds a doctorate in psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and a doctorate in ministry from the Chicago Theological Seminary. Dr. Bland has extensive clinical experience, including a psychological internship at the Department of Public Health, Division of Behavioral Health, City of Chicago. Born in New Jersey and a graduate of St. Louis University, he is a nationally known consultant providing clinical and pastoral consultations to dioceses, religious communities, and other church related agencies in dealing with sexual abuse by clergy and other church personnel. Dr. Bland is himself a survivor of clergy sexual abuse as a minor.