SCRANTON (March 4, 2021) – The Diocese of Scranton has once again been found to be in full compliance with U.S. bishops’ policies to prevent sexual abuse of children by clergy and other church personnel.
The Diocese has passed independent audits of its child protection procedures 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 audit was conducted by 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 findings are a result of a review of data collected for the 2019/2020 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: 11,526 students currently enrolled in Catholic schools in the Diocese or in parish religious education programs have received Safe Environment training.
A total of 232 priests who are in active ministry, along with 72 permanent deacons and 25 seminarians and candidates for the Diaconate have also received that training.
More than 425 educators and administrators in Diocesan schools, more than 1,160 employees of the Diocese of its parishes across 11 counties and 3,598 volunteers at schools, parishes and Diocesan facilities have also received valuable information to keep children safe.
More than 3,180 individuals also completed training on Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse in Pennsylvania.
In receiving the compliance audit results, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera stated, “This independent verification highlights the ongoing commitment that the Diocese of Scranton, along with its parishes and schools, has in protecting children. Our long record of compliance emphasizes that reliable reporting mechanisms are in place to ensure our zero-tolerance for any misconduct by a bishop, priest, deacon, lay employee or volunteer.”
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 www.dioceseofscranton.org.