PORTLAND — Bishop Robert Deeley has been elected as the chairman of the board of the National Catholic Risk Retention Group (National Catholic). Since July 2019, the bishop has served as the company’s episcopal moderator and as a member of its board of directors. Deeley’s appointment as chairman is in addition to his duties as the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Portland, according to a news release from Dave Guthro, communications director, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Bishop Robert Deeley Photo courtesy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

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.

“National Catholic has offered substantial and significant benefits for its insured shareholders and is guided by a strong call to fiduciary duty as a steward of assets for the Catholic Church,” said Deeley, according to the release. “The company is also the originator and provider of VIRTUS, the leading child protection and safe environment program for Catholic organizations in the United States.”

In Maine, more than 16,000 Catholic Church employees, volunteers, priests and educators who work with children have been trained in the VIRTUS program, which offers education to adults 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.

Since the training began in Maine more than 20 years ago, there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric in the Diocese of Portland.

“National Catholic has assisted the diocese in those efforts, and I am honored to offer any guidance and leadership that I can in ensuring that the success will continue in dioceses across the country,” said the bishop.

Deeley succeeds Fr. Jay Haskin of the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, who has served as chairman since 2006. Haskin will become chairman emeritus for the company and remain a director and member of the executive committee.

To learn more about Deeley, visit portlanddiocese.org. For more information about National Catholic or VIRTUS, visit nationalcatholic.org.