June 1985 (US) – “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner” – 92-Page Report by Rev Thomas Doyle, Lawyer Ray Mouton & Rev Michael Peterson






This confidential document had its remote beginnings in January of 1985 as a result of the consequences of the unfortunate incidents in Louisiana. The three major parts of the final draft were prepared in May of 1985 and this final draft was compiled on June 8-9, 1985 by Mr. F. Ray Mouton, J.D. and Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P. J.C.D

[See an explanation of this document and its history. This web version was created from a PDF of the original on the National Catholic Reporter’s website. We have not corrected the typos in the original typescript. The table of contents has been linked to the heads that it lists, and an anchor has been placed at the beginning of each page, so if you wish to link directly to page 63, you would use the URL http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/1985_06_09_Doyle_Manual/#p63.]


History of Proposal   2
Confidentiality of This Document   3

Illustration of One Case   5
General Discussion   9

Criminal Law Questions   16
Civil Law Questions   18
Canon Law Questions   22
Clinical/Medical Questions   26

Insurance Considerations   32
Civil Law Considerations   34
Criminal Law Considerations   42
Clinical/Medical Considerations   47
Canonical Considerations   58
Selected Spiritual Concerns   74
Public Relations Concerns   77

The Committee   80
The Group of Four Bishops   80
The Crisis Control Team   81
The Policy and Planning Group   82

The Crisis Control Team   84
The Policy and Planning Group   87



[page 1 begins]


This document contains a discussion of an extremely serious situation and a proposal to establish and fund a Special Project to be comprised of a Crisis Control Team and a Policy and Planning Group.

Both the Team and the Group would work under the direct control and supervision of an ad hoc Committee of four Bishops, all of whom have civil law degrees. This Committee of four shall control every aspect of the Special Project, subject to the supervision of a Committee formed out of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, under whose auspices they shall be appointed, receive authority, and serve.

The Project itself, both the Team and the Group, shall be comprised of professionals and consultants who possess a significant degree of experience and expertise in their given fields. Some of this group of experts from different disciplines shall devote the entirety of their professional endeavor to the Project during its existence. Other experts shall be retained as required. However, a group of professionals shall be working full time on the Project.

It is contemplated that the minimum life of the Special Project shall be five years. It is believed that following the completion of that term, it would be beneficial to retain some of the elements of the Project in place as opposed to dismantling the entire structure. [page 2 begins]

The cost of the Project is dependent upon the caliber of consultants retained, their degree of expertise and experience, and the portion of their professional life to be devoted to the Project. The cost shall be substantial.


Some extremely serious issues have arisen which issues presently place the Church in the posture of facing extremely serious financial consequences as well as significant injury to its image. As a result of sexual molestation of children by Clerics (Priests, Permanent Deacons, Transient Deacons), non-ordained Religious, lay employees and seminarians, for many months there has been continuous confidential communication amongst some expert consultants and Clergy, all of whom possess hands on experience with the more serious cases of sexual molestation. Through those discussions, the idea of this Project was born. The scope of the Project has been defined and re-defined until it reached the final form presented herein. It is contemplated that the very nature of the Project shall cause further re-definition during its existence.

The Criminal Considerations, Civil Considerations, Canonical Considerations, and Clinical Considerations are of such magnitude, not to mention the other substantial considerations such as Insurance and Public Relations, that it was decided that the [page 3 begins here] presentation of these extraordinary issues necessitated an extraordinary response, a response which would affirmatively and aggressively attack the problems. This is a very new and narrow area of legal jurisprudence which is developing with a very adverse effect upon the Church’s interests. In addition to the legal issues, there are unique Canonical Considerations and extremely complex Clinical Considerations which cannot or should not be addressed in a piecemeal manner.

It is submitted that time is of the essence. At the moment this is being read, problems with which the Project will deal are continuously arising. Many of these problems appear to be old problems, and indeed some are. However, all now carry consequences never before experienced….(continued)

1 thought on “June 1985 (US) – “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner” – 92-Page Report by Rev Thomas Doyle, Lawyer Ray Mouton & Rev Michael Peterson

  1. Pingback: The Chronology – 1883 to 2018 – Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester – The Bell Society

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