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Crisis Case Study 5

Client: Midwestern Catholic Diocese

Business challenge
Public outrage over a 30-year history of child sexual abuse by priests had virtually paralyzed this Catholic Diocese’s ability to serve its 600,000 Catholics and their spiritual needs.

Objectives
Minimize the reputational impact of child sexual abuse by priests.

Restore faith in the diocese’s leaders and moral authority.

Reverse a trend in diminished donations.

Planning process
Assessed the situation – the diocese was stonewalling the media, saying virtually nothing to them or its parishioners about the issues.

Assisted in strategy development/situation-specific messages and their compelling proofs – we needed to admit guilt, ask forgiveness, and lay out, then execute a plan that would protect children from abuse.

Recommendation/implementation

Delivered messages to a variety of audiences – in an unusual fashion – the Foresight PR consultant became the diocesan media spokesperson.

Told the truth, no matter how painful, and ensured that we were living what we said we would do.

Faced every accusation and media inquiry head on. Celebrated new programs and admitted past mistakes.

Results/outcome
Systems are firmly in place to protect children and all are aware of them.

Over a difficult three years, the bishop remained in place until his retirement.

Case Studies: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

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