According to the USCCB Charter, Dioceses are to have “a review board that functions as a confidential consultative body to the bishop/eparch. The majority of its members are to be lay persons not in the employ of the diocese/eparchy (see norm 5 in Essential Norms, 2006). This board is to advise the diocesan/eparchial bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors and in his determination of a cleric’s suitability for ministry. It is regularly to review diocesan/eparchial policies and procedures for dealing with sexual abuse of minors. Also, the board can review these matters both retrospectively and prospectively and give advice on all aspects of responses in connection with these cases” (art. 2; cf. also Essential Norms, norm 4).
According to the USCCB Essential Norms, “The review board, established by the diocesan/eparchial bishop, will be composed of at least five (5) persons of outstanding integrity and good judgment in full communion with the Church. The majority of the review board members will be lay persons who are not in the employ of the diocese/eparchy; but at least one (1) member should be a priest who is an experienced and respected pastor of the diocese/eparchy in question, and at least one (1) member should have particular expertise in the treatment of the sexual abuse of minors. The members will be appointed for a term of five (5) years, which can be renewed. It is desirable that the Promoter of Justice participate in the meetings of the review board” (norm 5).
In the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Diocesan Bishop will appoint members to five-year concurrent terms on the Review Board. The Review Board shall consist primarily of lay persons not in the employ of the Diocese. The Board shall act in full conformity with the USCCB Charter, the USCCB Essential Norms, the Diocesan Youth Protection Program, and all other applicable provisions of canon and civil law. Members of the Board will be chosen from diverse backgrounds and ages, equally representing men and women.
Full details on the responsibilities of the Review Board can be found on pages 31-32 in the Diocesan Youth Protection Policy.