WASHINGTON (May 29, 2007) — Judge Michael R. Merz, of Dayton, Ohio, has been named chair of the National Review Board (NRB) by Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Judge Merz's appointment becomes effective June 1. He succeeds Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, Ph.D. as chair. He was named an NRB member in 2004.
In accepting appointment, Judge Merz said he would continue the Board's strong role as lay collaborators with the bishops in protecting children, healing the damage done by abuse, and preventing its recurrence. "Our present goals," he said, "are to complete the Causes and Context study, to audit Charter programs in place to ensure they are effective, and to recommend to the bishops best practices in implementing the Charter."
Bishop Skylstad also named four new board members: Emmet M. Kenney, Jr., M.D.; Diane M. Knight, ACSW, CISW; Robert C. Kohm, J.D.; and Susan Steibe-Pasalich, Ph.D.
Judge Merz is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Law School and has been a trial judge for thirty years. His most important current work involves federal review of state death penalty cases. He has served the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on its Pastoral Council for the past six years and has done other volunteer service as Chair of the United Way and the Dayton Public Library boards.
Dr. Kenney is an adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Prairie St. John's, a Catholic health care organization offering psychiatric and chemical dependency services in Fargo, North Dakota. He has worked at Prairie St. John's since 1996. He is a graduate of Creighton University School of Medicine. He is an executive council member of the Northern Lights Council of the Boy Scouts of America and a member of the board of directors of the Dorothy Day House, Moorhead, Minnesota; and the Fargo Catholic Schools Network Council.
Ms. Knight recently retired as executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Inc. She serves on the Community Advisory Board, which advises the archbishop of Milwaukee and the archdiocesan victim assistance coordinator. She also serves on the Code of Ethics Task Force of Catholic Charities USA. Ms. Knight holds a master of science, social work degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Judge Kohm is a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and an adjunct assistant professor at St. John's University, Queens, New York. He is a graduate of New York University and Brooklyn Law School. He is president of the St. Ann's Church Holy Name Society in Queens, a member of the Knights of Columbus, and served as president of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
Ms. Steibe-Pasalich is a licensed clinical psychologist and the director of the University Counseling Center of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and a concurrent assistant professor in the department of psychology. She received her doctorate from the University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is a member of the Lay Review and Advisory Board for the Protection of Children and Young People for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, and serves on several committees at Notre Dame, including the Student-Athlete Drug Testing Committee, the Committee for Academic and Student Life and the University Wellness Committee.
The National Review Board was established by the USCCB in June, 2002, when the bishops adopted their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The board's purpose is to collaborate with the USCCB to prevent sexual abuse of minors by persons in the service of the Church in the United States.