Background Screening

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The CORI Process for Parishes

Important Note:  Our current policy is undergoing revisions.  Provisions of this policy may have been or are being changed, redacted or updated.

 

1. Who needs a CORI check?
The Archdiocese of Boston requires that all clergy, including those not serving in a parish, and all parish staff (full and part-time), together with all volunteers (17 years of age and older) who minister to or have the potential for unmonitored access to children, youth, elderly or the disabled, undergo a CORI check. A “CORI check” is an individual’s submission of his/her completed CORI Request Form to the Parish Coordinator in accordance with this Policy. Examples of those ministries which must undergo a CORI check, include, but are not limited to: Ministries to the Dying, Music Ministry, Religious Education, Parish Health Care, Youth Ministry, and Parish-chartered Boy Scout/Girl Scout Troops. If a pastor/administrator has a question with respect to which volunteers have the potential for unmonitored access to children, youth, elderly or the disabled, he should contact the Office for Background Screening.

2. When to have a CORI check
All clergy, and all parish staff (full and part-time) together with all volunteers (17 years of age and older) who minister to or have the potential for unmonitored access to children, youth, elderly or the disabled will undergo an annual CORI check. All such individuals are required to have a CORI check prior to their employment or volunteer service. It is the responsibility of the pastor/administrator of each parish to ensure that an individual, who is required to have a CORI check in accordance with this policy, does not commence his/her employment or volunteer service prior to the completion of the CORI check.

3. Submission of CORI Request Forms
The pastor/administrator of each parish shall select a member of the parish staff to serve as the “Coordinator” for the CORI Request process. It shall be the Coordinator’s responsibility to ensure that all individuals who are required to have a CORI check in the parish, fill out a CORI Request Form. 

The Office for Background Screening will send out new Forms each year to the parishes. An individual shall only fill out one CORI Request Form each year.  The form can be found here.

Once the individual has filled out the Form, the Coordinator shall check to see if the information is complete and legible. The Coordinator, or his/her designee, shall also verify the identity of the individual by requiring that the individual produce a government issued photographic identification at the time their CORI Request Form is submitted to the Coordinator. The Coordinator, or his/her designee, shall then sign the Form and make a copy of it for the parish records and then submit the original Form to the Office for Background Screening in accordance with the schedule established by the Director of the Office for Background Screening. The Coordinator may send the Forms of several individuals together at one time. If several Forms are submitted at one time, the Forms shall be grouped according to the type of Form and alphabetized by last name. The Form(s) shall be mailed directly to:

Office for Background Screening
Attention: Lisa Cutulle, Director
66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, MA 02184

(Please note: Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Submit CORI Request Forms directly to the DCJIS.)

The parish will receive confirmation from the Office for Background Screening indicating that the CORI Request Forms were received. The Coordinator shall keep the confirmation on file and shred the confirmed submission copies of the CORI Request Forms. The Office for Background Screening will submit the Forms to the DCJIS.

4. Individuals From Out of State
The DCJIS has access only to Massachusetts criminal offender record information. Therefore, if there is an individual in the parish who is required to have a CORI check, but is currently not residing in Massachusetts, the individual will be required to obtain their CORI Return for their current state of residence. If there is an individual in the parish who is required to have a CORI check, but has lived in Massachusetts for less than one year, the individual will be required to obtain their CORI return from their previous state of residence. It will be the individual’s responsibility to get a copy of their out of state CORI Return(s) and submit the CORI Return(s) to the Coordinator in a sealed envelope marked “Personal and Confidential”. The Coordinator shall then forward the sealed envelope and the individual’s CORI Request Form to the Office for Background Screening. The envelope should clearly identify the parish name and its location.

5. Evaluation of CORI Returns
The Office for Background Screening will receive all CORI Returns directly from the CHSB. The Office will review and evaluate all CORI Returns according to the criteria that the Archdiocese has set forth pursuant to guidelines established by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

If a CORI Return indicates that there are no adult records on file, the Office for Background Screening will notify the parish that the CORI Return is clear. If, however, the CORI Return indicates that the individual has an adult criminal record, the office will evaluate the CORI Return and place it into one of the following three categories:

  • Permanent Disqualification
  • Presumptive Disqualification
  • Discretionary Disqualification

Any employment or volunteer service by an individual shall be conditional pending their complete CORI Return being evaluated and cleared by the Office for Background Screening.

The Office for Background Screening may consult with any of the following individuals to evaluate a CORI Return: Commonwealth CORI Unit Manager, Counsel for the Legal Division of the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services, the Vicar General for the Archdiocese, the Special Assistant to the Archbishop, the Delegate for Investigation and/or the Secretary for Parish Life and Leadership Services (who may also consult with any of the above).

Permanent Disqualification: If an individual has a criminal offense which falls within the Permanent Disqualification Category, the pastor/administrator will be contacted by the Office for Background Screening and notified that the individual is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer under the CORI criteria of the Archdiocese of Boston. The pastor/administrator is asked to have the individual contact the Office. The Office for Background Screening will notify the individual that based upon his/her CORI Report, he/she is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer under the CORI criteria of the Archdiocese of Boston. The Office for Background Screening will provide the individual with a copy of his/her CORI Report and a copy of the CORI Policy of the Archdiocese of Boston. If the individual believes that his/her CORI Report is inaccurate, the Office for Background Screening will provide the individual with a copy of the DCJIS’s “Information Concerning the Process in Correcting a Criminal Record.” If the individual’s criminal record is thereafter corrected, the individual will be provided an opportunity to undergo another CORI check in accordance with this Policy. The Office for Background Screening will notify the pastor/administrator if the individual’s subsequent CORI check is cleared.

An individual who is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer may appeal the disqualification in accordance with this Policy.

Presumptive Disqualification: If an individual has a criminal offense, which falls within the Presumptive Disqualification Category, the pastor/administrator may be contacted and asked to have the individual contact the Office for Background Screening for further clarification of his/her CORI Return. After speaking with the individual, the CORI Return will be evaluated using the following guidelines:

  • The seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense;
  • The length of time since the offense occurred;
  • The age of the person at the time of the offense;
  • The number of offenses;
  • The relationship of the criminal offense to the nature of the employment or volunteer service.

If, based upon the above information, a determination is made that the individual may serve as an employee or volunteer in the Archdiocese of Boston, the Office for Background Screening will notify the pastor/administrator that the individual may serve as an employee or volunteer in the Archdiocese of Boston. The pastor/administrator is required to immediately notify the individual that he/she has been approved by the Archdiocese to serve as an employee or volunteer. If, however, a determination is made that the individual is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer, the pastor/administrator will be contacted by the Office for Background Screening and notified that the individual is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer under the CORI criteria of the Archdiocese of Boston. The pastor/administrator is asked to have the individual contact the Office. The Office for Background Screening will notify the individual that based upon his/her CORI Report, he/she is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer under the CORI criteria of the Archdiocese of Boston. 

An individual who is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer may appeal the disqualification in accordance with this Policy.

Discretionary Disqualification: If an individual has a criminal offense that falls within the Discretionary Disqualification Category, the pastor/administrator may be contacted and asked to have the individual contact the Office for Background Screening for further clarification of his/her CORI Return. After speaking with the individual, the CORI Return will be evaluated using the following guidelines:

  • The seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense;
  • The length of time since the offense occurred;
  • The age of the person at the time of the offense;
  • The number of offenses;
  • The relationship of the criminal offense to the nature of the employment or volunteer service.

If, based upon the above information, a determination is made that the individual may serve as an employee or volunteer in the Archdiocese of Boston; the Office for Background Screening will notify the pastor/administrator that the individual may serve as an employee or volunteer in the Archdiocese of Boston. If, however, a determination is made that the individual is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer, the pastor/administrator will be contacted by the Office for Background Screening and notified that the individual is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer under the CORI criteria of the Archdiocese of Boston. The pastor/administrator is asked to have the individual contact the Office. The Office for Background Screening will notify the individual that based upon his/her CORI Report, he/she is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer under the CORI criteria of the Archdiocese of Boston. 

An individual who is disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer may appeal the disqualification in accordance with this Policy.

6. Disqualification
The Office for Background Screening will send a Confirmation Letter to the pastor/administrator within two weeks after he has been notified that an individual within the parish has been disqualified from employment or serving as a volunteer. The letter confirms that the individual is not employed by the parish and is not serving as a volunteer. The pastor/administrator is required to acknowledge the letter and return it as soon as possible to the Office for Background Screening. The Office for Background Screening keeps these documents in a separate file marked “Ineligible for Employment/Volunteer Service.”

7. Acknowledgement of CORI Checks
Each year, the Office for Background Screening along with the Office of Child Advocacy will send out a Safe Environment questionnaire to all pastors/administrators which confirms that the parish has conducted all required CORI Checks. The Form must be signed by the pastor/administrator and returned to the Office for Background Screening/Office of Child Advocacy. 

8. Appeals
If an individual decides to appeal their disqualification, the decision to appeal must be made in writing by the individual to the Director of the Office for Background Screening within 14 days of receipt of the notice of disqualification. The individual shall explain in writing to the Director why he/she believes that they should continue their employment or volunteer service. (The individual is not permitted to be employed or serve as a volunteer during the appeal process.)

The appeal shall be reviewed by the CORI Appeals Board of the Archdiocese of Boston, which shall consist of the following individuals who have been cleared by the DCJIS to review CORI Returns: Office of Archdiocesan General Counsel, a pastor/administrator, a Professional Parish/School Staff Member and a Volunteer. The CORI Appeals Board shall meet once a month (if necessary) to review any appeals. Meetings of the CORI Appeals Board shall require a quorum of 3 members. A decision to allow the individual to be employed or serve as a volunteer in the Archdiocese, must be made by a majority vote of the CORI Appeals Board at a meeting of the CORI Appeals Board at which a quorum is present. Once the CORI Appeals Board has reached a decision with respect to the appeal, it will notify the individual in writing of its decision.

If the CORI Appeals Board informs the individual that the decision for disqualification has been affirmed, the individual will be notified that he/she may send a final appeal letter to the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston. The individual will have 14 days from the receipt of the decision of the CORI Appeals Board to send the final appeal letter to the Vicar General. Once the Vicar General has reached a decision with respect to the appeal, the individual will be notified in writing.