By Vatican News
Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), on Wednesday added 4 new members to serve on the National Review Board (NRB).
The newly-appointed members are Ms. Vivian M. Akel, LCSW, Mr. James Bogner, Mr. Steven Jubera, and Mr.Thomas M. Mengler.
The NRB was established in 2002 to assist US Bishops in safeguarding children and young people.
In a letter, Archbishop Gomez reminded the members that the Board provides an essential service to the Church in the US.
“The National Review Board plays a vital role as a consultative body assisting the bishops in ensuring the complete implementation and accountability of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. As it states, ‘The whole Church, especially the laity, at both the diocesan and national levels, needs to be engaged in maintaining safe environments in the Church for children and young people,’” wrote Archbishop Gomez.
Biographies of new members
Ms. Vivian M. Akel, LCSW, is a retired Clinical Social Worker currently holding the position (volunteer) of Safe Environment Coordinator for the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn as well as Pre-Cana facilitator. Her prior experience includes 21 years with the New York City Department of Education as a School Social Worker providing all aspects of Social Work Services with school age children, parents and educators. In addition, Ms. Akel held the position of Director of Social Work in an acute care medical center supervising social workers providing services to patients, families and medical personnel. Ms. Akel began her career working in a Community Mental Health Center in Brooklyn New York providing outpatient psychotherapy to individual patients, couples and families and maintained a private practice until her retirement in 2014. She received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work and is currently enrolled in a Spiritual Direction training program at Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality. Ms. Akel has been married for 34 years and has two adult children.
Mr. James Bogner is a retired Senior Executive Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with over 35 years of law enforcement experience including serving as a municipal police officer, commanding a detective division, and an FBI Special Agent. He has served as a field investigator in Indianapolis, an investigative supervisor in Chicago, a Unit Chief in the Washington D.C. headquarters of the FBI’s Internal Affairs/Adjudication Unit, and then the national Inspection Unit. Mr. Bogner was assigned as Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge in Oklahoma City after the 1995 bombing. He served in the Senior Executive Service in Washington, and later as Special Agent-in-Charge of FBI offices in the midwest over Nebraska and Iowa. These positions included investigations, developing multi-agency liaisons and partnerships, addressing national personnel and misconduct policies and issues, conducting national inspections and audits, risk analysis, strategic planning, and high-profile media matters. Mr. Bogner later served as the first Assistant Federal Security Director developing procedures and protocols for airport security for Law Enforcement in Nebraska and Iowa after 9/11. He has served on several local, state and national boards and councils. Mr. Bogner has a Master’s Degree in Administration of Justice, and he is a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute. He has also served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the Criminal Justice program. His volunteer work includes being President of his Parish Council to include data and survey analysis and strategic planning. Mr. Bogner also serves on the Archdiocesan Advisory Review and Ministerial Misconduct Boards for the Archdiocese of Omaha.
Mr. Steven Jubera is an Assistant District Attorney for Mississippi's 17th Judicial District. Born in Chicago, he served as a United States Marine being deployed to the Middle East with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Upon Mr. Jubera’s honorable discharge, he attended the University of Illinois at Chicago then earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS where he currently resides. Mr. Jubera has assisted in the formation of a child advocacy center to better serve the children of his community and has been a speaker advocating for children including the One Loud Voice conference in Mississippi. Mr. Jubera currently serves on the Review Board for the Diocese of Jackson. He is married with four children and one grandson.
Thomas M. Mengler is president of St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas. He holds a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. Before becoming president of St. Mary’s, he served as dean of two law schools: the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Mr. Mengler has served Catholic higher education as a member and, between 2018 to 2020, as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. In that role, Mr. Mengler also served in 2018 as a member of the Higher Education Working Group for the USCCB’s Committee on Higher Education. Previously, he served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of San Antonio and as Co-Chair of the Lay Commission on Clergy Sexual Abuse of Minors in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. He and his wife have four adult children. (Source: USCCB)