Bishop Robert P. Deeley has been appointed as the National Catholic Risk Retention Group (National Catholic) episcopal moderator. The bishop also has been elected as a member of National Catholic’s Board of Directors. The new appointments are in addition to his duties as the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Portland, according to a news release from the Lisle, Ill. licensed insurance company.

Incorporated in 1987, National Catholic is a licensed insurance company that operates as a risk retention group in 21 states with authority to write liability insurance in all 50 states. It also is the originator and provider of VIRTUS, the leading child protection and safe environment program for Catholic organizations in the U.S.

More than 15,000 Catholic Church employees, volunteers, priests and educators in Maine who work with children have been trained in the VIRTUS program, which offers education on recognizing the warning signs of risky behavior, the need to communicate concerns about improper behavior, and how to teach children proper boundaries and effective responses to potentially harmful situations.

“The VIRTUS program is a tremendous resource for our diocese and others in offering specialized safe environment programs to both adults and children,” said Deeley, according to the release. “This abuse prevention training and awareness has helped the Diocese of Portland to be vigilant in its efforts to make the Church a safe place for children and all those who seek a place to draw near to God.”

“We are so grateful that Bishop Deeley has agreed to assist us in our efforts to maintain the highest level of performance, particularly in our VIRTUS program,” said Dennis O’Hara, president and CEO of National Catholic, according to the release. “In addition to facilitating discussions on matters important to our policyholders and shareholders, he will also be available to his fellow bishops on matters involving VIRTUS.”

The VIRTUS training occurs in both workshop settings and with modules on an online platform that participants complete on an ongoing basis.

“Since our training work began nearly 20 years ago, there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric in the Diocese of Portland,” said Deeley, according to the rleease. “National Catholic has assisted the diocese in those efforts, and I am honored to offer any guidance and support to the board that I can.”

For more information about National Catholic or VIRTUS, visit tncrrg.org.

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