Judge Michael R. Merz, of Dayton, Ohio, has been named chair of the National Review Board (NRB) by Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Judge Merz’s appointment becomes effective June 1. He succeeds Patricia O’Donnell Ewers, Ph.D. as chair. He was named an NRB member in 2004.
In accepting appointment, Judge Merz said he would continue the Board’s strong role as lay collaborators with the bishops in protecting children, healing the damage done by abuse, and preventing its recurrence. “Our present goals,” he said, “are to complete the Causes and Context study, to audit Charter programs in place to ensure they are effective, and to recommend to the bishops best practices in implementing the Charter.”
Bishop Skylstad also named four new board members: Emmet M. Kenney, Jr., M.D.; Diane M. Knight, ACSW, CISW; Robert C. Kohm, J.D.; and Susan Steibe-Pasalich, Ph.D.
Dr. Kenney is an adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Prairie St. John’s, a Catholic health care organization offering psychiatric and chemical dependency services in Fargo, North Dakota. He has worked at Prairie St. John’s since 1996. He is a graduate of Creighton University School of Medicine. He is an executive council member of the Northern Lights Council of the Boy Scouts of America and a member of the board of directors of the Dorothy Day House, Moorhead, Minnesota; and the Fargo Catholic Schools Network Council.
The National Review Board was established by the USCCB in June, 2002, when the bishops adopted their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The board’s purpose is to collaborate with the USCCB to prevent sexual abuse of minors by persons in the service of the Church in the United States. USCCB