SCRANTON – For twenty consecutive years, independent audits have found the Diocese of Scranton to be in full compliance with U.S. bishops’ policies to prevent sexual abuse of children by clergy and other church personnel.
The Diocese recently received its 2022 compliance certification from StoneBridge Business Partners, a private auditing firm based in New York, which has been contracted to conduct compliance audits of the nation’s 195 dioceses.
The Diocese of Scranton has passed audits of its child protection procedures, policies and records every year since the policy was adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2002.
The USCCB spells out the policies that dioceses must follow in its “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” The Charter is a comprehensive action plan for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. It also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability and prevention of future acts of abuse.
The findings are a result of a review of data collected for the 2021/2022 Charter audit period. The annual audit evaluates each diocese’s efforts to ensure the protection of children, including criminal background checks and educational awareness programs on recognizing and preventing abuse.
Among the information reported to the auditors in this most recent period: 8,639 students currently enrolled in Catholic schools in the Diocese or in parish religious education programs have received Safe Environment training.
A total of 230 priests who are in active ministry, along with 79 permanent deacons and 18 seminarians and candidates for the Diaconate have also received that training.
More than 559 educators and administrators in Diocesan schools, more than 869 employees of the Diocese of its parishes across 11 counties and 2,670 volunteers at schools, parishes and Diocesan facilities have also received valuable information to keep children safe. Many more individuals have also completed training on Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse in Pennsylvania.
In receiving the latest compliance audit results, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, stated, “Our 20 year compliance record with child protection audits highlights the commitment that the Diocese of Scranton, along with its parishes and schools, has in ensuring the protection of children. While many steps have been taken to address clergy sexual abuse, we must continue to listen, care for and walk with survivors. Every one of us must remain committed to safeguarding and strengthening our policies against the sexual abuse of minors.”
The Diocese of Scranton’s Safe Environment Office ensures that Charter standards are continually met.
For more information on the Diocese of Scranton’s Safe Environment Program, or for a full overview of all policies and protocols, visit dioceseofscranton.org.