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Child Protection Audits Find Nearly All Dioceses Compliant

 
April 10, 2012
Dioceses of Lincoln, Nebraska, Baker, Oregon, six eparchies refused to participate
Almost three-quarters of allegations from 1960-1984
New auditors urge better recordkeeping

WASHINGTON—The 2011 Annual Report on the implementation of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People reports that nearly all dioceses in the country are totally compliant with the 17-point Charter.

It also notes that, as in previous years, the Diocese of Baker, Oregon, and Lincoln, Nebraska, and six eparchies (Eastern rite dioceses) refused to participate in the audits and therefore are found non-compliant.

The full report can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2011-annual-report.pdf

The report notes that most allegations reported today are of incidents from previous decades. For example, 68 percent of allegations made in 2011, were of incidents from 1960-1984, and the most common time period for allegations was 1975-1979. It also found most of the accused have died or been removed from ministry and many had been accused previously.

Three percent (or 21) of the allegations noted in the 2011 report came from current minors.

“Of the 21 allegations made by minors, seven were considered credible by law enforcement; three were determined to be false, five were determined to be boundary violations, and three are still under investigation,” the report said. The credibility of three allegations could not be determined.

In the same period, “683 adults who were victims/survivors of abuse in the past came forward to report on allegations for the first time.”

The audits were undertaken by StoneBridge Business Partners, which began Charter audits for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with the 2011 audits. One-third of the dioceses had on-site visits, and 24 of them included visits to parishes. Of these dioceses, StoneBridge found only one non-compliant with any article. The Diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana, was found non-complaint with Article 2, which concerns diocesan review boards, because its review board had not met in two years. StoneBridge noted that the diocese had “not experienced any Charter-related violations in at least four years” and that it immediately convened its review board when StoneBridge highlighted the failing.

StoneBridge also issued numerous management letters, which recommended areas where dioceses and parishes might improve. The areas covered by most management letters concerned record keeping of background checks on adults working with minors and safe environment training for children, staff and volunteers.

The annual report also includes statistical data gathered by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). CARA noted costs related to the crisis decreased in such areas as settlements, therapy, and support for offenders, and increased in attorney fees. Total cost to dioceses in 2010 was almost $124 million; in 2011 it was almost $109 million. Total costs to dioceses and religious orders combined fell from $150 million in 2010 to about $144 million in 2011.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said the church still had to remain watchful.

“While the report supports the conclusion of both studies done by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice – that the majority of allegations are way in the past – the church must continue to be vigilant. The church must do all she can never to let abuse happen again. And we must all continue to work with full resolve toward the healing and reconciliation of the victims/survivors.”

Al J. Notzon, III, chairman of the all-lay National Review Board for the protection of Children and Young People, in a letter to Cardinal Dolan highlighted “the importance of good record-keeping regarding background checks and participation in safe environment training.”

“I also highlight the great significance of involving parishes in the audit process,” he said. “The parish is where our children learn and live their young, growing faith. Parish participation in the audit process thus ‘makes the Church real’ for individual parishes and, most importantly, for the participating families and children.”

In other findings

The 683 adults who were victims/survivors and came forward for the first time this year were offered help with healing, and 453 people accepted support.Another 1,750 people who reported abuse in the past continued to receive support.

Of those clerics accused of past sexual abuse of minors, 253 were deceased, 58 had already been laicized, and 281 had prior allegations and were already removed.

Across the country, 1.8 million volunteers in Catholic parishes and schools are trained to protect children. An additional 249,000 other employees are likewise trained.

Nationwide over 4.8 million Catholic children were taught to recognize a grooming process, say no, and to tell parents and other trusted adults about such behavior. All audited dioceses/eparchies have safe environment training for children.

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Keywords: Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Al J. Notzon, II, dioceses, Lincoln, Nebraska, Baker, Oregon, parishes, child abuse, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, CARA, StoneBridge,

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MEDIA CONTACT ONLY:
Sr. Mary Ann Walsh
O: 202-541-3200
M: 301-325-7935




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