PORTLAND---An independent, on-site audit of safe environment procedures has found the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The on-site audit, which reviewed the period of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, was conducted by StoneBridge Business Partners of Rochester, New York.
The Charter calls for an effective response from the diocese to any report of sexual abuse by church personnel, background checks on all diocesan employees and volunteers who work regularly with minors, and other mandates for the protection of children.
100% of all diocesan employees and active clergy were found to have had background checks. Auditors also reviewed the implementation of the Think First/Stay Safe Prevention Program for children in Catholic schools and those that participate in religious education offered through their parishes, and the implementation of the Protecting God’s Children Program for all those working and volunteering in the Diocese of Portland.
“The diocese is pleased that the results of this thorough, on-site review reflect our commitment to ensuring that the Church is a safe environment for children and all those who seek a place to draw near to God,” said Bishop Robert P. Deeley. “The audit is done each year to guarantee that our safeguards remain in place and to continually remind ourselves of the gravity of the harm. We pray for the victims/survivors and want to do what we can to assist, if possible, in a process which leads to their healing.”
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was approved by the U.S. Catholic Bishops in June 2002, revised in June 2011, and is reviewed regularly. The mandates include removing clergy who have sexually abused minors; reaching out to victims and their families with patience and compassion; reporting all allegations of sexual abuse of minors to civil authorities and investigating all complaints of abuse in a timely, thorough manner; implementing safe environment programs, which include abuse prevention training and awareness for all personnel and volunteers; and completing background checks on all personnel.
Bishop Deeley encourages anyone who may have information about any case of sexual abuse of a minor by a church representative to contact civil authorities as well as Michael Magalski, Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility for the Diocese of Portland, at (207) 321-7836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.