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Safeguarding at St. Francis of the Woods

Caring for All of Creation

 

St. Francis of the Woods should always be a safe, caring place for all of our staff, parishioners, and guests. It has come to our attention that allegations have surfaced of sexual assault occurring on the grounds in the Fall of 2022. When the Board was first made aware of these allegations, an internal investigation was conducted, which found no evidence of sexual assault. Those involved indicated satisfaction with the investigation and outcome at the time of the investigation. The accused was not an employee of St. Francis of the Woods, and has not been on the property since October 2023.

 

St. Francis of the Woods does not tolerate sexual assault, and takes any allegation of sexual assault extremely seriously. St. Francis of the Woods has policies and safeguards in place to protect individuals from potential harm and we are committed to investigating every allegation of sexual assault or harassment thoroughly. In addition to the internal investigation, in the Spring of 2023, the Board hired an independent attorney to conduct an external investigation, to look into the allegations of sexual assault. The concise findings of that investigation were as follows: “While it is rarely appropriate to touch someone without consent, the conduct described below does not rise to the level of sexual assault or harassment. Further, the behavior has been corrected, apologies have been made, and there have been no additional incidents.”

St. Francis of the Woods is committed to remaining a safe and equitable space for all. We take every opportunity to make the grounds, buildings and overall atmosphere healing, restorative and serene. If you believe you have been the victim of sexual assault – or any assault – at St. Francis of the Woods, please report it to the proper authorities and make St. Francis of the Woods leadership aware immediately.  

 

St. Francis of the Woods takes all allegations of assault, abuse or other unacceptable behaviors extremely seriously, and will fully investigate them. St. Francis of the Woods has absolutely zero tolerance of any such incidents, and to prevent them, we have a variety of safeguards in place:

 

  1. All St. Francis of the Woods employees and church members charged with caring for children in any capacity undergo thorough training. Adults always care for children with at least one other adult present, and are never left alone with a child. To view our policies and procedures around protecting children and vulnerable adults at St. Francis of the Woods, click here
     

  2. St. Francis of the Woods has a formal online reporting form for any allegations of misconduct, abuse or any other concerns. We respond to all allegations promptly, thoroughly and fairly. We will protect the identity and information of those filing reports, keeping identities as confidential as possible while still addressing reported concerns.

  

If you have an immediate concern about any circumstances that may endanger children or other vulnerable people, please first call 911 or appropriate authorities, then contact the Executive Director of St. Francis of the Woods and/or fill out the reporting form.

 

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