Monday, December 10, 2012

Ethics Phone Line Established in Archdiocese

The Archdiocese of Washington has established a toll free number for anyone suspecting anything illegal taking place in any of their institutions, such as parishes, schools and offices.

If you suspect any thing improper going on, you may call, toll free at 1-855-290-3381.

For example, if you suspect any sort of:
  • accounting irregularities
  • theft or fraud, such as funds, supplies, etc.
  • embezzlement
  • falsifying parish records, contracts, etc.
  • kick-backs or other improper dealings with vendors
  • conflicts of interest

The phone line is NOT run by the Archdiocese but by an outside firm specializing in handling these matters. 

When you call, you will be asked to briefly describe the situation (who, what, when where, etc.).  They will ask you a series of clarifying questions to ensure that they understand the problem/issue.  You will be given a number, which is the unique identifier for this case, should you need to call back.  They will also ask you how to get a hold of you, regarding this matter, if they need more information.

All of these matters are kept confidential by the vendor, EthicsPoint.  Having used this sort of service before, not with the Archdiocese, it is confidential and a good service. 

Of course, it is important that you think carefully when you call.  Make certain you are clear on the matter. 

If Miss Mary, who is 80 years old, takes a copy of the Catholic Standard and does not leave a donation, it is not what I would consider theft. 

If there is liturgical dancing during the Mass or the priest invites a lay person to give the homily, that is not what this line is for (but maybe it should). 

If Mr. Newbie is running a private business from the parish rectory, you should call. 

If someone is taking $50 from the 9am Sunday Mass loose change donation every Sunday, so that he/she has a little spending money for the week, you should call.

If you are not certain, call.  They can tell you if this falls under their contract with the Archdiocese, or should be reported some other way. 

Now, I find it interesting that this has been established.  Usually, this sort of thing in instituted when there has been an problem with theft or some other crime and/or people were reluctant to report it (or did not know whom to report it too).  Please note that I have not heard anything regarding why this has taken place nor have any information.


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