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.

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.      

Stacie LeBlanc is the Executive Director of the New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center and the Director of the Audrey Hepburn Children at Risk Evaluation (CARE) Center of Children's Hospital in New Orleans. She began her career as a child abuse prosecutor and is the former chief of the Felony Child Abuse Division in Louisiana. LeBlanc obtained a master's degree in Early Childhood Development and her Juris Doctorate from Loyola University New Orleans. She designed two educational programs, Teens, Sex and the Law, and Painless Parenting, and has trained an average of 8,000 people annually on these and other mandatory reporting programs. To battle child abuse, LeBlanc developed a social media campaign, Dear Parents, and launched No Hit Zones at Children's Hospital and its subsidiaries to raise awareness of the harms of corporal punishment, which is the most prevalent risk factor for child physical abuse. She has been recognized for 11 successful legislative amendments and named the Champion for Children for Policy and Legislation by Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana. She has received a Victims and Citizens Against Crime Lifetime Achievement Award, the FBI Directors and Community Leadership Award, Outstanding Prosecutor Award, recognition as Catholic Graduate of the Year and City Business' Health Care Hero Award. LeBlanc is currently the President of the Louisiana Alliance of Children's Advocacy Centers and the Vice President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC).

Dr. Christopher McManus is the owner and President of CP & RP McManus, MD, Ltd where McManus practices Internal Medicine in the Diocese of Arlington, VA. He is active in the Northern Virginia Guild of the Catholic Medical Association and is a charter member and current leader for Privia Medical Group.  McManus was a professor for Georgetown University Medical School from 1998-2006 and has served as a Physician Advisor for Quality Resource Management. McManus served his residency training at the University of Vermont and received his degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine.  He currently serves on the Arlington County Executive Board and has previously served as President of the Arlington Medical Society. Other volunteer activities for McManus include serving at the Arlington Free Clinic, volunteering in the Medical Reserve Corps for the Arlington County Health Department, and local service to his home parish. He has been married for over thirty years, has four adult children, and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family.

Eileen F. Puglisi held the position of Director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People in the Diocese of Rockville Centre where from 2003-2014.  Her prior work history involves director level work at various Psychiatric Centers in New York, including Deputy Director of the Queens Children's Psychiatric Center. Puglisi received a Professional Degree in School Psychology from St. John's University in New York and an M.S. in Guidance and Counseling from Hunter College in New York. She has direct experience as a psychologist and is an avid golfer.

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).

Theresa Simak is an Assistant State Attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit of Florida. She has been with the State Attorney's Office since 2003 and was made a Division Chief in 2009. Simak has spent most of her career focused on the prosecution of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence offenses. She is active in the community of Jacksonville and serves as chair of the University of Florida Child Protection Team Community Advisory Council and serves on their Operations Advisory Council. Simak currently serves on the State Forensic Interview Protocol Task Force to help develop a standardized protocol for forensic interviews of children suspected of having been abused. She also works closely with the sexual assault and domestic violence centers in Northeast Florida to include Hubbard House, Quigley House and the Women's Center of Jacksonville. Simak received the Mayor's Judicial Victim Advocate Award for outstanding service to victims in 2014 and received the State Attorney's Office Distinguished Service Award for dedication and outstanding performance in 2015. Simak is married, and she and her husband have three children.

Jan Slattery served as the Director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth in the Archdiocese of Chicago from 2003-2015. Previously she was the Director of Ministry in Higher Education for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Prior to working in the Archdiocese, Slattery was an administrator at Loyola University Chicago. She has been a consultant for various religious denominations on child abuse prevention and has been a frequent presenter on child abuse prevention. She gave a presentation on pornography at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 2012 and is co-author of Conversations, a program that addresses loneliness and life issues in diocesan priesthood. She was a member of the USCCB Higher Education Committee and Chairperson of the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators.  While Director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, she partnered with the Children's' Advocacy Center in Chicago and Prevent Child Abuse America to further awareness of child abuse.  Slattery currently serves on the Review Board for three religious communities. She has an MA in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Loyola University Chicago.

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.

Ms. 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.

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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.  
 
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.

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.

Recent National Review Board Reports to the Body of Bishops

2019 National Review Board Progress Report | 2019 Bishops Progress Report Summary

On June 11, 2019 the chairman of the National Review Board the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' independent lay advisory panel on the protection of children and young people, delivered a report to the body of U.S. bishops regarding the abuse crisis in the Church. The report outlines multiple recommendations from the National Review Board on accountability and strengthening prevention efforts moving forward within the Church.
Recommendations from the National Review Board Addressing the Current Crisis specific to Restoring the Trust of the Faithful (November 13, 2018)

Special Report of the National Review Board to the Body of Bishops on the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church (November 13, 2018)