A retired state police captain who successfully ran the Megan’s Law Section of the Pennsylvania State Police will now oversee the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg’s Safe Environment program. Retired Capt. Janet A. McNeal, through her firm Law and Grace Consulting, will review the Diocese’s current youth protection programs, develop programs and policies to make any needed improvements and will serve as Safe Environment Coordinator, according to a release from the diocese office.
McNeal has worked in law enforcement investigative and policy development for 26 years. She has a three-year contract with the Diocese and will operate independently, reporting her recommendations directly to Bishop Ronald W. Gainer. McNeal has been granted complete access to all the Diocese’s records. In addition to reviewing every case reported to the Diocese, McNeal will also meet with survivors to hear their stories and determine what stage they are at in the healing process.
“I’m a mother, a grandmother, a police officer, a Protestant and I’ve dealt with sex offenders for most of my career,” McNeal said. “I’m here for the survivors. I want to hear their stories, learn what stage of healing each survivor is at and work with them so they are no longer a victim of abuse, but are victorious at finding healing."
“Captain McNeal brings a wealth of experience with her,” said Bishop Gainer. “As a contractor with the Diocese, she is a neutral party, with no conflicts of interest, who has dedicated her entire professional career to seeing that justice is served and survivors of a range of crimes, but specifically sexual crimes, are heard and supported.
“As part of her role, Capt. McNeal will review every clergy child abuse case reported to the Diocese, in order to evaluate what went wrong and help us continue improving our youth protection policies and trainings, as a means of reducing the risk for future abuse.”
“I’ll be dealing with the past, present and future of sexual abuse in the Church,” McNeal added. “I’ll be reviewing every case reported and will speak with the survivors. Already in my short time working with the Diocese, it is clear that Bishop Gainer is serious about correcting the mistakes of the past, ensuring survivors receive the support they need and the safety of our children.”
During her 26 years with the State Police, McNeal was assigned as the chief administrator for the Megan’s Law Sexual Offender Registry for the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In this role, she oversaw the entire operations for this department, including developing policies and procedures, developing a plan to automate the offender registration process and overseeing the development of the offender website.