By Barb Arland-Fye
The Diocese of Davenport is in compliance with data collection requirements for the 2012-13 audit period of the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
StoneBridge Business Partners of Rochester, N.Y., which conducted the audit, confirmed the diocese’s compliance in a letter to Bishop Martin Amos dated Aug. 16. The information will be forwarded to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Youth and Child Protection for use in the 2013 Audit report.
The charter is a comprehensive set of procedures that the USCCB established in 2002 to address allegations for sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. Guidelines in the charter also address reconciliation, healing, accountability and prevention of further acts of abuse.
Msgr. John Hyland, the Davenport Diocese’s vicar general, prepared the report with assistance from diocesan Chief Financial Officer and Vice-Chancellor Char Maaske, Faith Formation Director Mary Wieser, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools Virginia Trujillo, Database Coordinator Lynnette Sowells, and Victim Assistance Coordinator Alicia Owens.
In his report, Msgr. Hyland identified the diocese’s advancement in the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for the 2012-13 audit period. Among the advancements:
Diocesan Policies relating to Sexuality and Personal Behavior were revised Feb. 14, 2013; speaker Michael Ferjac spoke to the Davenport Deanery and several religious education programs on Internet safety and pornography; training was conducted for the new Safe Environment curriculum “Circle of Grace” for grades kindergarten through 12; training was conducted for all local safe environment administrators at parishes/schools on the VIRTUS system and the new background check procedure; the training system was integrated with the new background check processing company; articles appeared in The Catholic Messenger pertaining to safe environment and child protection.
Msgr. Hyland noted that during the audit period the diocese received four reports against two clergy; one of those reports was proven not credible. The other three reports are under investigation. The vicar general said that the Diocesan Review Board meets at least four times a year to discuss reports and/or policies and procedures.
Wieser said that 12,927 children and youth, cumulatively, received safe environment training in grades kindergarten through 12 curricula. A total of 95 priests, 29 deacons, 559 educators, 968 employees and 2,213 volunteers also received safe environment training during the audit period. Those figures include individuals who may have received previous training because everyone must participate in updated training and background checks every five years, she said.
“A great effort is made by many people to assure the volunteers working with children and employees are trained and background checks completed,” Maaske said. “It is a challenge and we don’t always receive the needed information and reports from the parishes and schools. As entities put coordinators in place to oversee the program it helps increase compliance with our policies.”
“We all have a passion to ensure that none of our young people or children are exposed to child sex abuse. That’s the bottom line,” Wieser said.
By Barb Arland-Fye