The National Review Board

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops established the National Review Board during their meeting in June of 2002. The functions of the Board were revised slightly and reconfirmed in June of 2004. The purpose of the National Review Board is to collaborate with the USCCB in preventing the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the Church.

About the National Review Board

Current National Review Board Members

Suzanne Healy, Chairwoman, was the Victims Assistance Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 2007 through 2016. Her role was to assure healing, reconciliation and support for victim survivors. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with experience in private practice and as a school counselor. She also has eighteen years of business management and strategic planning experience with AT&T and Pacific Bell. Mrs. Healy has a BS in Psychology and an MS in Counseling, M.F.C.C. option, with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential with Advanced Specializations in School Counseling and Child Welfare and Attendance Services, both from California State University at Los Angeles. Mrs. Healy served on the Executive Board of the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health Faith Based Advocacy Council, and also as a Committee Member for Los Angeles City Attorney Office Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium in Los Angeles, both from 2008-2016.  In 2016, she received the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Department of Health Affairs Excellence Award.
She presently is retired and serves on the board of directors for Valley Family Center in San Fernando, CA.

Dr. Paulette Adams is a tenured professor emeritus from the University of Louisville School of Nursing. She is a graduate from Spalding University earning a BSN in nursing and MAT in teaching. Dr. Adams earned an EdD in Higher Education Administration from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Adams retired from ULSON in 2008 having served as interim Dean, Associate Dean of Academic Programs, and faculty for 33 years. Her practice areas were medical/surgical nursing, and community health nursing.  In addition, she taught courses in leadership, assertive behavior, values clarification and research. Dr. Adams is a certified Faith Community Nurse. Dr. Adams has published articles on measurement and validation of evaluation tools related to nurse behaviors in the practice setting and evaluation tools related to oncology patients determinants during cancer treatment. 

For 25 years, Dr. Adams was a nurse legal consultant on malpractice cases working for numerous law firms in Kentucky and Ohio. She reviewed cases and testified as a nurse expert witness.

Dr. Adams has counseled many students who have been subjected to sexual and other types of abuse and violence. She has served on the Archdiocese of Louisville Sex Abuse Review Board since its establishment in 2002 to present.

Vivian M. Akel, LCSW, is a Clinical Social Worker (retired) and Spiritual Director currently holding the position (volunteer) of Safe Environment Coordinator for the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn as well as Seminary Formator and Pre-Cana facilitator. Ms. Akel has been a member of the USCCB’s National Review Board for Child and Youth Protection since June 2020. Prior experience includes 21 years with the New York City Department of Education as a School Social Worker providing all aspects of Social Work Services with school age children, parents and educators. In addition, Vivian held the position of Director of Social Work in an acute care medical center supervising social workers providing services to patients, families and medical personnel. She began her career working in a Community Mental Health Center in Brooklyn, New York providing psychotherapy to individual patients, couples and families and maintained a private practice until her retirement in 2014. Vivian received a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College’s School of Social Work and a certification in Spiritual Direction at Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality. She has been married for 38 years and has 2 adult children.   

James Bogner is a retired Senior Executive Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with over 35 years of law enforcement experience both at the municipal and Federal levels. During his FBI career, he served as the Chief of the FBI’s Internal Affairs/Adjudication and Inspection Units. He was the Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge in Oklahoma City after the 1995 bombing. He served in the Senior Executive Service in Washington, DC, and later as Special Agent-in-Charge of FBI offices in the Midwest over Nebraska and Iowa. These positions included investigations, developing partnerships, addressing national personnel and misconduct policies and issues, conducting national inspections and internal audits, risk analysis, strategic planning, and high-profile media matters. He later served as the first Assistant Federal Security Director developing procedures and protocols for airport security for Law Enforcement in Nebraska and Iowa after the 9/11 terrorist attack. He has served on several local, state and national boards and councils.

His post-Masters work included studies in Public Policy Analysis. He is a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute. He has also served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the Criminal Justice program.

As a life-long Catholic, he has served his parish in Omaha as President of Parish Council and leading the parish in data and survey analysis and strategic planning. He was a founding co-leader in the parish’s “Catholics Returning Home” program for fallen away Catholics, and in developing evangelization initiatives in his parish. He is an active member of the Knights of Columbus.

He is the Chair of the Archbishop of Omaha's Advisory Review Board and his Ministerial Misconduct Board. He is also the Chair of the Missionary Society of St. Columban's United States Review Board.

Mr. Bogner has served on the National Review Board for the past four years before being named its Chair.

Sarah Brennan, PhD is a clinical psychologist. In her professional background, Dr. Brennan was Director of the Second Judicial District Court Clinic where she specialized in providing reconciliation and mediation services to families.  When the Servants of the Paraclete developed a treatment program for Catholic priests and brothers, she conducted evaluations and provided treatment to the residents and consultations with their superiors.  She has given numerous workshops and presentations including Psychological Interviewing with Sexual Offenders, The Psychology of Lying (video for the FBI), Assessment of Clergy Candidates, and Assessment and Management of Suicidality.  Dr. Brennan has administered psychological evaluations for dioceses, religious communities, and Protestant seminaries and was a member of the teaching staff for novices in Catholic religious communities, for both men and women.  For 20 years, Dr. Brennan was Clinical Director of the Samaritan Counseling Center, a faith-based agency with centers around the United States and in Great Britain and Japan.  Under Dr. Brennan’s direction, the Albuquerque Center was the first to meet all 50 of the Samaritan Institute’s accreditation standards.  Currently, she is a clinician and administrator with National Security Psychological Services.  She maintains a top-secret security clearance, evaluates applicants and security clearance-holders, and trains and supervises psychologists and psychiatrists around the United States to conduct evaluations.

Other professional experiences and affiliations: Adjunct Professor, Smith College; Chair of the International Conference of Consulting and Residential Centers; and Adjunct Associate professor in the departments of psychology and psychiatry at the University of New Mexico.  Dr. Brennan has been president of her state psychological association, and was its Federal Advocacy Coordinator for 12 years, attending annual lobbying sessions in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Brennan is a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Albuquerque, NM.  Among her volunteer activities, she has been a board member with Catholic Social Services and Barrett House, a Catholic-sponsored facility for homeless mothers and children which assists them in finding housing and employment.  As a member of Partners of the Americas, Dr. Brennan went to Mexico quarterly to train psychology graduate students in psychological testing and assessment, conducted in Spanish.  She was appointed by the Governor to be a member of the New Mexico State Board of Psychologist Examiners, served as Chair of the New Mexico Consortium on Child Mental Health Services, and was appointed by Archbishop John C. Wester to serve on the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s Independent Review Board. 

Carol Brinati retired from the Diocese of Orlando in service as Chief Operating Officer/Chancellor in 2021. In that role, she oversaw offices within the Chancery and served as a liaison to parishes and other entities on behalf of the Bishop. Before that, Ms. Brinati served as secretary for the Evangelization Secretariat of the Diocese of Orlando and director of communication. Ms. Brinati led Massey Persons Brinati Communications since 1988 where she first served as director of operations and then as President/CEO of the agency for three years. 

Carol has a big heart and a deep faith – she gives of herself to many causes. She is a parishioner of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park and sings for the St. Margaret Mary Adult Choir and serves as lector. She joins the diocesan choir for diocesan celebrations such as Chrism Mass and Ordination to the Priesthood. She was a member of the Morning Star School Auxiliary, serving children with special needs, and recently retired from a twenty-year board member of Bishop Grady Villas, a community that serves adults with disabilities. She is a humble servant of God who sees each person as a gift, and through kind gestures, helps them to feel appreciated and loved. Carol has touched a number of other nonprofit organizations through donation of her time and talents, including United Cerebral Palsy, Central Florida Light Opera, The Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation, Orlando Breakfast Rotary Club, NCCJ, The Boggy Creek Gang, and Girl Scouts of Citrus Council. As Chief Operating Officer/Chancellor she served on the boards of five Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Orlando, the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, and Bishop Grady Villas. 

Ms. Brinati is also a prolific poet. Her poems are a reflection of her faith journey and they touch on the spirituality of her life and the lives of people around her. The poems capture a beauty of faith, life and love that is truly something to celebrate. She publishes annually a book of poetry for friends, family, and retreat use. 

Ms. Brinati received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Illinois and studied graduate courses in public administration at Cleveland State University. She has a certificate of business administration from Rollins College. She received her Master’s degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Steubenville. Since her retirement from the Diocese of Orlando, she serves as a volunteer in a diocesan capacity under the title, Delegate of the Ordinary. In 2022, she received the papal honor, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Julie Hanlon Rubio is a Professor of Christian Social Ethics at Jesuit School of Theology (JST) of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California. Dr. Rubio has a B. A. in Political Science from Yale University, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of Southern California. Before coming to JST in 2018, she taught at St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO for nearly two decades. Her research in ethics focuses on marriage, family, sex, and gender. She has published six books, including the award-winning Hope for Common Ground: Mediating the Personal and the Political in a Divided Church (Georgetown University Press, 2016) and Family Ethics: Practices for Christians (Georgetown University Press, 2010). Her many articles have appeared in academic journals and the popular press. Currently, she is a principal investigator for a grant-funded study on clericalism and clergy sexual abuse.

Steven Jubera is an Assistant District Attorney for Mississippi's 17th Judicial District. Born in Chicago, he served as a United States Marine being deployed to the Middle East with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Upon Mr. Jubera’s honorable discharge, he attended the University of Illinois at Chicago then earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS where he currently resides. Mr. Jubera has assisted in the formation of a child advocacy center to better serve the children of his community and has been a speaker advocating for children including the One Loud Voice conference in Mississippi. Mr. Jubera currently serves on the Review Board for the Diocese of Jackson. He is married with four children and one grandson.  

John Leavitt has been a member of the Diocese of Tucson Review board for the past eight years, as well as member of the Board of Directors for his parish corporation as well as for the parish school for more than 20 years.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from The University of Arizona, a Master of Education degree from Northern Arizona University, and Certificate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for completing the State and Local Executive program.  He has been a member of the Tucson Police Department for more than 40 years, with 28 years of command experience.  He is currently the commander for the Counter Narcotics Alliance, a state, local, and federal narcotics enforcement task force in Southern Arizona. He has had command responsibility for investigative responsibilities for 13 years of his tenure. He is also an Adjunct instructor with the School of Government and Public Administration at the University of Arizona.  His is married to a retired judge, and has two adult children.

Kurt Martens, J.C.D. earned a civil law degree and a doctorate in Canon Law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium where he was also on faculty. In 2005 he began a career as a professor at the School of Canon Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is an expert in due process, public law of the Church, the hierarchical structure of the Church, and religious liberty.  His international experience includes being a visiting professor at universities in Canada, France, and the Netherlands. Dr. Martens has written extensively on an array of canonical and religious topics in professional periodicals and books. He currently serves on the editorial committees of various canonical journals.  Dr. Martens has served as a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Government for more than 15 years. 

Aaron Martin grew up in Ohio and has resided in Arizona since 2005. Mr. Martin is an attorney in private practice. After working for Arizona's two largest firms, and as the general counsel for a national charter school network, Mr. Martin started his own law practice in October 2018. Mr. Martin's practice focuses on representing students who have been injured or suffered discrimination, business litigation, and corporate compliance. He has Bachelor of Arts and Licentiate degrees in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America where he was a Basselin Fellow. He obtained his Law degree from the University of Arizona James Rogers College of Law. He has served on and counseled numerous nonprofit and corporate boards and has been the Chair of the Diocese of Phoenix's Ethics in Ministry Board since its inception in 2019. He is married with four children.

Thomas M. Mengler is president of St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas. He holds a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. Before becoming president of St. Mary’s, he served as dean of two law schools: the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Mr. Mengler has served Catholic higher education as a member and, between 2018 to 2020, as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. In that role, Mr. Mengler also served in 2018 as a member of the Higher Education Working Group for the USCCB’s Committee on Higher Education. Previously, he served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of San Antonio and as Co-Chair of the Lay Commission on Clergy Sexual Abuse of Minors in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. He and his wife have four adult children.

José Angel Moreno came to the United States as an immigrant child from Mexico.  He served honorably in the United States Marine Corps prior to getting a degree in Criminal Justice.  He obtained his law degree from the University of Texas and has worked as a state and federal prosecutor for almost 38 years. He served as an Assistant District Attorney in Del Rio, Texas, where he prosecuted felony offenses, including violent crimes and sexual abuse cases.  He subsequently served as the First Assistant District Attorney in Laredo, Texas, where he resides, before joining the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas (SDTX).  As an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA), he has spent more than 30 years prosecuting and supervising other AUSAs in public corruption, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), money laundering, child pornography, and enticement cases.  He has held multiple supervisory roles within the SDTX, and in 2010, he was judicially appointed as the United States Attorney for the SDTX, the busiest district in the country.

Since 1996, he has served as an instructor in Uganda, Spain, and most of Latin America under the Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT).  OPDAT promotes the rule of law and regard for human rights by reforming foreign justice systems.  He served as a Director of Criminal Programs at the Office of Legal Education and has been a perennial instructor at DOJ’s National Advocacy Center in South Carolina.  In 2001, he served as the Program Manager for the Justice Sector Reform Program under Plan Colombia at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. Appointed by Bishop James Tamayo in 2005, he has served on the Diocesan Review Board for the Dioceses of Laredo and is serving his second term as the Chair of that Board.  He also serves as the designated layperson assisting Bishop Tamayo in the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service (CBAR).  He and his wife have been married for over 39 years, and they have one child.

Dr. John Sheveland is a Professor of Religious Studies and the current Flannery Chair in Catholic Theology at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA where he teaches courses on Christian theology, interreligious dialogue, and religion and violence. Dr. Sheveland holds a Doctorate in Systematic and Comparative Theology from Boston College, a Master’s degree in Christian Theology from Yale Divinity School, and a Bachelor’s degree in History and Theology from the University of Portland. His current areas of research and writing include theological reflection upon traumatic wounding and upon religious violence. At Gonzaga he organizes the annual lecture series called Being Religious Inter-religiously which advances the Jesuit commitment to interreligious dialogue. He has served on multiple editorial and advisory boards and is a member of several academic and theological societies. He also serves on the Diocesan Review Board for the Diocese of Spokane.

Scott Surette is a devoted husband to his beautiful wife of 26 years, Audrey. Scott is also a devoted father to their five children.  He was born and raised Catholic in central Indiana.  Scott has been a home inspector for 41 years. He now owns and operates his own home inspection business.  He came into the home inspection profession by helping his father for a college summer break job and never left. His father gave Scott his home inspection career as well as his love for Jesus through the Catholic church and through Cursillo. As a teenager, Scott wanted to be a counselor to be able to minister to people. He learned that counseling people regarding the purchase of a home was how God was calling him to serve people.  Scott went to Brebeuf Preparatory High School, a Catholic Jesuit college prep high school in Indianapolis and was always heavily involved in his parish youth ministry and music ministry.  

Scott came to his local diocesan review board in the diocese of Lafayette in Indiana as a result of being fully healed from a sexual abuse history from a priest when he was 15 years old.  After 40 years of living in pain and denial, Scott came to understand that the priestly sexual abuse he suffered at age 15 was at the core of his pain. At age 55 Scott sought understanding and healing through his local diocese in Lafayette Indiana. Through counseling provided by the diocese and an intensely healing meeting with his Bishop, the most Reverend Timothy Doherty, Scott believes he was given a vision of his abuser through the eyes of Christ. Christ did not view this man with anger and vengeance, but with sorrowful compassion and pity for his lost soul. Christ showed Scott how this man was a hurt, wounded and lost soul. Scott was able to fully forgive his abusive priest, who is now deceased.  Scott’s paradigm regarding this man changed from anger and vengeance to compassion and forgiveness and Scott now routinely prays for this man’s eternal soul.  This healing and peace has touched every aspect of Scott’s life.

Scott now wishes to bring this total paradigm shift from anger and vengeance to healing and forgiveness to the church to help the church recover from the deep wounds that the sexual abuse scandals have caused. Scott has never lost his love for our Holy Mother Church.

Barbara Thorp, MSW was the Victim Assistance Coordinator and Founding Director, Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach for the Archdiocese of Boston, 2002-2012. Ms. Thorp led the development and staffing of an office of supportive and pastoral services including a referral program of trauma-informed care to credentialed and independent mental health providers and addiction specialists. She coordinated listening sessions with parishes, clergy and bishops. Ms. Thorp was a member of the Apostolic Visitation team to the Archdiocese of Dublin led by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, facilitating meetings with over sixty clergy abuse survivors.  She assisted with the first papal meeting with five abuse survivors from Boston also led by Cardinal O’Malley.  The meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Washington, DC in April 2008, included a presentation of a handcrafted book containing the names of 1476 survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Responding to the terrorist bombing on the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 Ms. Thorp, working for One Fund Boston as the Director of Support Services, developed and facilitated a needs assessment and services for persons who suffered injuries, for their families and for others profoundly impacted by the attack and its aftermath.   She led the One Fund Center as Program Director at Massachusetts General Hospital for the following five years.

As the Director of the Pro-Life Office for the Archdiocese of Boston from 1985-2002 Ms. Thorp led the crisis response to the murder of abortion clinic workers in 1994.  She participated in a six year pro-life/pro-choice dialogue with six women in leadership roles.  In January, 2001 The Boston Globe published an op-ed jointly written by the women who participated titled, “Talking with the Enemy”.  Ms. Thorp initiated Project Rachel for the Archdiocese of Boston as an outreach to persons suffering in the aftermath of abortion and served for many years as a board member for the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing.

Ms. Thorp is the author of “Twenty Years After Boston Globe ‘Spotlight’ We Need a National Data Base of Accused”, published by the National Catholic Reporter, Jan. 4, 2022.

Presently Ms. Thorp is a retired clinical social worker and serves on the board of directors for Awake – A community of abuse survivors, concerned Catholics and allies responding to the wounds of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Functions of the National Review Board

  • Advise the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People on matters of child and youth protection, specifically on policies and practices
  • Review the work of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and make recommendations to its Execuitve Director, assisting the Executive Director in the development of resources for dioceses and eparchies
  • Review, prior to publication, the Annual Report of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection on implementing and maintaining the standards of the Charter and any recommendations that emerge from the report, providing its own assessment regarding its approval and publication to the Conference President
  • Advise the USCCB President on future members of the Board and future Executive Directors of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection.
  • Advise the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People on the annual audit process prescribed in the Charter, including methods, scope, and personnel.
  • Alert and inform the appropriate parties of concerns that emerge from the above responsibilities that may run counter to the spirit of the Charter.
  • Consult as requested with the USCCB President, the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Administrative Committee, and other USCCB or relevant Church entities on matters relating to the protection of children and young people from sexual abuse.
  • Make appropriate recommendations to prevent sexual abuse of minors.