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“The best measure of successful risk control is the claim that never happens.

Prevention of sexual abuse is the pinnacle of risk control excellence.”

truth justice healing prevention OMG NEW


In Burnett Risk Control International’s practice, risk management – risk control – is about preventing sexual abuse, properly addressing situations that resulted in abuse despite your best efforts, compassionately handling sexual abuse claims from a bygone era, and effectively containing cost so that your organization can pursue its religious or charitable missions.


Burnett Risk Control helps develop comprehensive and integrated risk control protocols to prevent sexual abuse and implement proper claims handling standards. We customize loss prevention programs that include:  

  • Safe environment programs;

  • Background checks;

  • Updated policies and procedures;

  • Training, monitoring;

  • Human resources guidelines;

  • Technology and cyberspace policies;

  • Proper claims handling;

  • Coordinating with civil authorities and social services; and

  • Cooperation with insurers and other risk transfer partners.

Our programs include pastoral and restorative outreach and strong foundations that enable religious and non-profit entities to strive for compassionate, expedited and cost-effective claims resolutions with a goal of facilitating the greatest measure of healing. These protocols constitute expanded concepts of abuse prevention, risk control and claims handling that go far beyond traditional risk management "best practices." 


Burnett Risk Control International can help your organization prevent sexual abuse and if, despite best efforts, abuse happens, Michael Burnett can also properly engage abuse survivors to resolve the resultant claims. The costs of these undertakings are sound investments that prevent sexual abuse and that yield dividends in safety for children and vulnerable adults, reduced liability exposure, and in procuring affordable insurance coverage. Churches and nonprofits must establish protocols that comply with and, in many cases, exceed civil mandates, “best practices” and “conventional wisdom.”


Sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults infects the benevolent missions of religious, charitable and other nonprofit entities. Churches and charities must employ comprehensive, integrated and proactive prevention, risk control and claims handling programs to effectively combat the scourge of sexual abuse. Any effective program should reflect an understanding of the devastating harm caused by sexual abuse and the horrific scope of the problem. Any comprehensive program must include efforts to achieve truth, justice, healing and prevention because doing the right thing morally, ethically and legally is also doing the right thing in the stewardship of resources.

File Review/File Audits

File Review / File Audits

Burnett performs independent expert file audits and reviews of personnel files, claim files and other relevant materials.  It is critically important to engage in an initial assessment of sexual abuse and liability risks in parishes and institutions. Often, personnel files, claims files and other relevant materials contain information, subtle hints and oblique references to sexual misconduct that merit investigation. Some organizations have committed themselves to norms which constitute standards, and in these instances, a file review serves as an audit. Through file reviews and audits, high-risk individuals can be identified and removed. These reviews ensure that risks of sexual abuse are eliminated and that predators are not in ministry or employed and do not have access to minors and vulnerable adults. 

Our independent reviews include:

  • Comprehensive review and analysis of operations and ministries;

  • Loss histories;

  • Incurred But Not Reported (IBNR) records and estimates;

  • Pending claim and lawsuit information;

  • Insurance information;

  • Reserves information;

  • Applicable current and historical state and federal laws; and

  • Other relevant information and materials. 

This process could uncover previously unknown risks, injuries and potential claims. Discerning risks—and the risk transfer mechanisms available to respond to such perils—provides important context for the development of a proper risk prevention program.


Often, an effective file audit requires an intimate knowledge of an organization and its unique organizational structure, history, traditions, vernacular, euphemisms, and even intangible components that hold clues to hidden risks of sexual abuse and potential liability exposure. Burnett Risk Control has extensive experience and expertise in identifying risks that many others do not see or do not even understand.


Burnett Risk Control and its strategic partners have conducted countless independent professional file audits, reviews and investigations. Each time, the Burnett team has discovered clergy, employees and volunteers who had engaged in sexual abuse and sexual misconduct but remained in their positions. In each instance, current leadership of the organizations were unaware of the offender’s abusive proclivities and actions.  In each audit and review in which Michael Burnett discovered sexual predators, defense counsel and/or internal officials had previously reviewed files and believed that no offending clergy, employees or volunteers remained in ministry or employment. Burnett experts found risk where others believed none existed. Burnett and our strategic partners can help you find and eradicate risk and can help you establish a baseline for a safe environment.

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