LINCOLN – Jessica Compton-Crocker has been named Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Lincoln.
The Victim Assistance Coordinator has three key responsibilities: providing advocacy, outreach, and pastoral assistance to victims of sexual abuse by church personnel, especially to those who were/are minors at the time of the abuse; engaging the diocesan community in education, training, and abuse prevention efforts; and participating in and coordinating with the personnel misconduct response team.
“I am pleased to announce the hiring of Jessica Compton-Crocker as the new Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Lincoln,” said Bishop James Conley. “Jessica will provide compassionate and immediate support for persons who report that they were sexually abused as minors by church personnel.”
Compton-Crocker, a member of the Cathedral of the Risen Christ Parish in Lincoln, has a background in counseling for individuals, couples and families, and provided advocacy services for victims of domestic violence.
“This position is a passion of mine which stems from a firm belief that healing can occur,” she said. “In times of pain and hardship, our faith can easily be choked by thorns and weeds… but it does not have to be.
“The pain and hurt we experience can be a journey with Christ and actually build our faith and relationship with Him,” she continued. “With the revelations that have come about in the Catholic Church and here in the Diocese of Lincoln, it can be easy to fall into blanket ideas or to become fearful. Yet, fear is not of God.”
Compton-Crocker added that she would never want to “see someone walk away from their faith or live with the belief that God has abandoned them.”
“When we look inwardly, we see our pains and hurts,” she said. “When we can look outwardly, we can see the pains and hurts of Christ. We can unite them together. With help, healing can occur.”
In a question-and-answer piece with the Register in September, Bishop Conley reiterated that if the diocese receives a report or information concerning suspected child sexual abuse, it will report that information to law enforcement.
“Law enforcement agencies are the best, most objective independent investigators,” he said. “The Diocese of Lincoln appreciates the work that they do and pledges its support to all efforts to stop criminal behavior by predators.”
He also added an avenue for people to report things that are not crimes, but make them uncomfortable, including suspected “grooming” or interactions between adults and children that they believe are inappropriate. On Aug. 29, the diocese announced an anonymous hotline (1-844-527-0596) and website (under construction) from the nationally-known company NAVEX Global to assist persons in making reports of misconduct in the Diocese of Lincoln.
The hotline is not a substitute or alternative to calling law enforcement, but allows for concerns and complaints of sexual misconduct, boundary violations, suspicious behavior, financial impropriety or any other potential wrongs to be brought out into the open. For those events that law enforcement declines to investigate, the NAVEX service will direct complaints to appropriate diocesan administrators.