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.

Vivian M. Akel, LCSW, is a retired Clinical Social Worker currently holding the position (volunteer) of Safe Environment Coordinator for the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn as well as Pre-Cana facilitator. Her 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, Ms. Akel 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. Ms. Akel began her career working in a Community Mental Health Center in Brooklyn New York providing outpatient psychotherapy to individual patients, couples and families and maintained a private practice until her retirement in 2014. She received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work and is currently enrolled in a Spiritual Direction training program at Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality. Ms. Akel has been married for 34 years and has two 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 including serving as a municipal police officer, commanding a detective division, to an FBI Special Agent.  He has served as a field investigator In Indianapolis, an investigative supervisor in Chicago, a Unit Chief in Washington DC Headquarters of the FBI’s Internal Affairs/Adjudication Unit, and then the national Inspection Unit.  He was assigned as 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 multi-agency liaisons and partnerships, addressing national personnel and misconduct policies and issues, conducting national inspections and 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 9/11. He has served on several local, state and national boards and councils.

Following completion of a Masters Degree in Administration of Justice, 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.

His volunteer work at his parish in Omaha includes being President of his Parish Council to include data and survey analysis and strategic planning.  He was a principal in founding the parish’s “Catholics Returning Home” program for fallen away Catholics, and in developing and implementing evangelization initiatives in the parish.  He also serves on the Archbishop’s Advisory Review and Ministerial Misconduct Boards.

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. 

Elizabeth Hayden is a retired District Court Judge for the State of Minnesota. She is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict with a degree in Social Work.  While working in that field, she held positions in a psychiatric hospital, county social services and the State Dept. of residential licensing.  She received her law degree from Oklahoma City University.  Subsequently, she served as a prosecutor in the office the Stearns County Attorney for six years before being appointed a District Court Judge.  In her more than 23 years as a judge she presided over criminal, civil and family law cases and trials including many sexual abuse cases. She served as Chair of the MN Supreme Court Committee on the General Rules of Practice which led to a change in MN law to allow cameras in the courtroom.  

After being appointed by the MN Supreme Court, she served on a three-judge panel that presided over the U.S. Senate election contest of Norm Coleman vs. Al Franken.  Judge Hayden was President of the Minnesota District Judges Association.  She has served on the Board of Trustees of the College of St. Benedict and is currently a member of the Board of Governors of St. Thomas University School of Law.  She is also a Trustee for St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud MN.  Appointed by Bishop Donald Kettler she has been on the Diocesan Review Board for the Diocese of St. Cloud and is serving her second term as Chair of that Board.  As a member of the CentraCare Health Foundation Board, she chairs the Grants Committee.  Judge Hayden and her husband, retired Judge Charles A. Flinn live in St. Cloud MN.      

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. 

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.

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.

John N. Sheveland is Professor of Religious Studies and the current Flannery Chair of Catholic theology at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA., where he teaches courses on Christian theology, interreligious dialogue, and religion and violence. He 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 received in 2013 a Faculty Diversity Leadership Award and in 2015 an Exemplary Faculty Award from Gonzaga University.  He serves on the boards of the College Theology Society and the Society of Buddhist-Christian Studies, the steering committee of the Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, the advisory board of the Currents of Encounter monograph series with Brill and is a book review editor for Horizons. His research articles have appeared in a variety of academic journals and scholarly books, and he is the author of Piety and Responsibility (Ashgate/Routledge, 2011 (2017 2nd edition).

Belinda G. Taylor served as the first Victim Assistance Coordinator on contract for the Diocese of Amarillo for sixteen years and worked with three Bishops over the course of nineteen years. She served on the Bishop’s Advisory Committee and Review Board to address issues related to clergy misconduct and sexual abuse of minors by priests. Prior to retiring in 2018, Mrs. Taylor established and operated a private counseling practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor working with child and adult victims of sexual abuse, as well as providing individual, family, and play therapy. In 2003, Mrs. Taylor established an ongoing therapy support group for victims abused by clergy which allowed the group to create a training video for clergy on the effects of abuse. Through these efforts, victims were invited to participate in clergy trainings and reconnect with their church communities. 

As a Texas Registered Sex Offender Treatment Provider, Mrs. Taylor provided thirteen years of ongoing treatment services for registered adolescent and adult sex offenders on probation or parole. In addition, Mrs. Taylor served as the Executive Director for fifteen years at a local non-profit community center providing an array of social services from early childhood education, afterschool programs, counseling, a senior citizen center, and numerous youth programs serving predominately low-income residents struggling in poverty. In 2010, Mrs. Taylor was awarded the ‘Friend of the Child’ Mayor’s Service Award.  Mrs. Taylor continues to volunteer as a Safe Environment Trainer and serves on the Amarillo Bi-City-County Public Health Board.  Together, she and her husband Wayne have spent their married life farming and ranching in the Texas Panhandle. They have four adult children, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.


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.