On The Watch | Thomas Coz has his keen eye on some 79,000 church employees in Southern Ohio. As the new point-man responsible for protecting any child who attends the region’s 300 Catholic parishes and schools, Coz is busy overseeing a number of critical changes in how the archdiocese does—and will do—business.
New Beginnings | “During 2012, we will begin to implement a new national child-protection training program called VIRTUS, to allow us to more effectively track our training and compliance efforts.” The program emphasizes best practices to raise awareness about child sexual abuse, protect victims from any further abuse, discourage bullying and cyber-bullying, identify and punish offenders, and assist leadership in setting other priorities.
The Enforcer | You don’t want to find yourself fibbing to Coz; he has the know-how and FBI information network to assure that every worker’s personnel record is clean as a whistle. “I supervise the fingerprinting and background check work that we do to ensure that no person with a criminal background comes into contact with children anywhere in the archdiocese.“
Restoring Faith | Don’t think of him as just a snoop or private-eye. Coz sees his primary role “to protect, enhance and in some cases restore the trust that our faith calls for, between agents of the Catholic Church and the children and adolescents entrusted to their care.” His watch list extends to all clerics, staff, volunteers, substitute teachers and even those personnel furnished by third-party contractors. Be it the groundskeeper in the parish garden or a nanny in the nursery, he’s got his eye on you.
To Protect And Serve | The task is immense. “With over 79,000 names in our databases, keeping track of who has received the training, who is current with training updates and who is not should dominate my time,” Coz says. His territory covers 214 parishes along with 113 primary and secondary schools. If an employee at any of these locations is promoted or moved into any other role, beginning now, he or she must agree to be fingerprinted yet again. The Archdiocese will also forbid registered sex offenders from entering a church property except to attend Mass.
The Road To Now | The attorney finished his JD at the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1979, then spent his early years at PepsiCo and NorthAmerican Van Lines. More recently, he’s served as general counsel to Wild Flavors Inc. in Erlanger, Ky. The father of two sons and a daughter, he’s a member of St. William Parish in Price Hill. “Our family returned to Cincinnati in 1992 where we purchased the home that my wife (Maureen Murphy Coz, Class of 1982) had grown up in.”