Diocese names Richard Mathews as director of safe environment

By Lance Murray

North Texas Catholic

August 1, 2017

Richard Mathews (NTC photo/Juan Guajardo)

FORT WORTH — Charged with ensuring the safety of the children and young people within the Diocese, Richard Mathews has taken the position of director of Safe Environment, effective July 10.

Mathews will draw on his experience as an attorney since 1982 and his lengthy experience in youth protection and child abuse prevention through his previous employment as the general counsel of the Boy Scouts of America, where he served for 11 years. He also worked three years as general counsel for Trail Life USA. Most recently, he has been advising other ministries in private practice.

During his tenure with the Boy Scouts, Mathews saw first-hand the lasting pain and devastation from child sexual abuse cases. Mediating cases made him want to minimize the likelihood that it would happen again. “The opportunity to potentially spare children, or anybody, from the pain and huge loss of abuse is very powerful,” he said

In his new role, Mathews will oversee the diocesan Safe Environment Program for curriculum, training, and screening of all clergy, employees, and volunteers who minister and work in the diocese.

“I work closely and effectively with clergy and the laity for full compliance with the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People through continued enhancement and nurturing of a safe environment program and culture,” he said.

The Safe Environment Program of the diocese manages all Safe Environment training sessions for preschoolers through adults that provide instruction in self-protection and in the protection of children and young people.

It includes training for all volunteers about the dynamics of abuse and abuse prevention strategies; evaluating the backgrounds of all employees and volunteers; and reviewing and signing of the Code of Conduct and Standards of Behavior.

He said his faith will play a critical role in executing his duties.

“My Catholic faith guides, directs, and completely informs my work,” Mathews said. “It creates peace in my vocation, knowing that I am where God wants me to be.”

Beginning with his early days as a prosecuting attorney, Mathews explained he wanted to make a difference with his career. Now, he said, “God can take certain experiences and opportunities I’ve had and use it as a blessing for others and me.”

Mathews earned an undergraduate degree in political science and philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1979, and he earned his law degree in 1982 from the Drake University School of Law. In 1993, he received a Master of Laws degree in employment and labor law from Wayne State University.  

Mathews and his wife, Laura, just celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary, and they have two adult children, Bradley and Ryan.

They are parishioners at Saint Maria Goretti in Arlington, where Mathews serves on the Parish Leadership Council. He also served as Safe Environment Coordinator there.

Mathews also serves on the Board of Directors for Human Life International, the world’s largest pro-life advocacy organization. He is a member of the St. Thomas More Society, the Cardinal Newman Society, the Christian Leadership Alliance, and the Knights of Columbus. 

FORT WORTH — Charged with ensuring the safety of the children and young people within the Diocese, Richard Mathews has taken the position of director of Safe Environment, effective July 10.

Published (until 8/1/2035)
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