news release on audit results

news release on audit results

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January 6, 2004 NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information, Contact: Bud Bunce (503) 233-8373 bbunce@archdpdx.org Archdiocese of Portland in full compliance with Charter to Protect Children The Archdiocese of Portland is in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons according to an audit by the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In September 2003, the Archdiocese of Portland participated in an audit of its policies and procedures regarding child abuse issues. The auditors were independent of the Archdiocese of Portland, lived outside the State of Oregon, and were chosen by and reported to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board. The National Review Board arranged for voluntary audits in order to help dioceses evaluate their implementation of and compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of ...

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January 6, 2004

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information, Contact: Bud Bunce (503) 233-8373
bbunce@archdpdx.org

Archdiocese of Portland in full compliance with Charter to Protect Children

The Archdiocese of Portland is in full compliance with the Charter for the
Protection of Children and Young People and the Essential Norms for
Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by
Priests or Deacons according to an audit by the National Review Board of the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In September 2003, the Archdiocese of Portland participated in an audit of its
policies and procedures regarding child abuse issues. The auditors were independent
of the Archdiocese of Portland, lived outside the State of Oregon, and were chosen by
and reported to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review
Board. The National Review Board arranged for voluntary audits in order to help
dioceses evaluate their implementation of and compliance with the Charter for the
Protection of Children and Young People and the Essential Norms for
Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by
Priests or Deacons. --- More ---

Archdiocese in Full Compliance
Page Two


The Archdiocese received commendation from the audit team for its system of
tracking background checks completed on employees and volunteers. The use of
identification cards confirms that the bearer has successfully completed a background
evaluation and is eligible for volunteer service in any component of the Archdiocese.
Two recommendations were given to the Archdiocese in order to be in full compliance:
first, to develop a tracking system for those employees and volunteers who have
completed safe environment training, similar to that used for monitoring background
checks; second, to develop and implement a suitable program for religious education
students regarding safe environment training similar to the “safe touch” program used in
Catholic elementary schools. Students in parish religious education programs attend
public schools, and come to the parish for religious education. Both recommendations
were implemented by the Archdiocese within the timeframe required by the audit team
in order to be in full compliance with the Charter.
Archbishop John G. Vlazny stated, “For more than fifteen years the Archdiocese
of Portland has operated with clear policies for the protection of our children and for
dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse by pastoral ministers and church
employees. The directives offered by the Bishops’ charter have strengthened our
policies and renewed our commitment to this important task. There was never a
question about our decision to be in full compliance with the charter. I am grateful to all
our pastoral ministers and people who have shared my resolve and taken this matter
seriously.” --- More ---
Archdiocese in Full Compliance Page Three

In June 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted the
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Charter demonstrated
the Bishops’ acknowledgement of mistakes made in the past dealing with child abuse
by priests, and assured everyone that the Bishops’ were taking responsibility for
“dealing with this problem strongly, consistently, and effectively in the future” (pg. 3).
The Charter seeks:
To Promote – healing and reconciliation with victims/survivors of sexual abuse of
minors;

To Guarantee – an effective response to allegations of sexual abuse of minors;

To Ensure – the accountability of our procedures;

To Protect – the faithful in the future.

The Bishops of the United States adopted a complementary document to the
Charter, the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of
Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons. The Essential Norms document was
adopted by the Bishops in November 2002, and approved by the Vatican’s
Congregation for Bishops on December 8, 2002. Essential Norms dealt with specific
policy issues for dioceses in the U.S., ensuring that these policies and norms are
consistent with universal Church law.
Under the goal “to promote healing and reconciliation with the victims/survivors of
sexual abuse of minors” the Archdiocese of Portland demonstrated its efforts:
• The Ember Days of prayer and fasting for the healing and reconciliation of those
abused by priests were an example of the effort to promote healing.


--- More ---
Archdiocese in Full Compliance Page Four

• The Archdiocese of Portland and Providence Health System sponsored group
therapy sessions for those sexually abused as minors by a Catholic priest. An
independent and board certified psychiatrist in private practice conducted the
sessions.
• Archbishop John G. Vlazny offered to meet with any victim who wished to meet
with him. He also met with numerous victims at healing services.
• The Archdiocese of Portland has a child abuse policy that has been widely
disseminated in English and Spanish.
• Archbishop Vlazny appointed an Assistance Coordinator, as required by the
Charter and the Essential Norms, to coordinate assistance and immediate
pastoral are for those who claim to have been abused by clergy.
• Archbishop Vlazny appointed a Ministry Review Board to serve as a local
consultative body assisting him in evaluating Archdiocesan policies and
procedures for working with victims and their families. The Board also assists
the Archbishop with evaluation of priests for ministry after an allegation of abuse
has been made.

The Archdiocese of Portland demonstrated its efforts to meet the goal “to guarantee
an effective response to allegations of sexual abuse of minors” by:

• Having a clear policy that requires allegations of sexual abuse of a minor is
reported to public authorities as required by Oregon law.
• Archdiocesan policy allows an accused priest or diocesan employee to be
immediately relieved of ministerial duties pending the outcome of an investigation
of the accusation.
• Archdiocesan policy is consistent with the Essential Norms and Canon Law of the
Church for dealing with clergy who have credible accusations of child sexual
abuse.

The Archdiocese of Portland demonstrated its effort “to ensure the accountability of
our procedures” by:
• Participating in this voluntary audit of policies and procedures.
• Cooperating fully in the Catholic Bishops’ survey conducted by John Jay College.



--- More ---
Archdiocese in Full Compliance
Page Five
Under the heading “to protect the faithful in the future” the Archdiocese of Portland
noted:
• The Archdiocese has established a “safe touch” program in all archdiocesan
elementary Catholic schools.
• A “safe environment” program established in archdiocesan parishes and schools.
• Archbishop Vlazny appointed a “safe environment” coordinator to assist parishes
with training programs
• Training sessions were held for Catholic school principals, parish youth ministers
and directors of religious education to help ensure a safe environment.
• The archdiocese conducts background checks and screening of all parish and
archdiocesan employees who come into unsupervised contact with children and
young people.
• Training was provided to clergy and business managers on the required
background checks.
• The archdiocese has established standards of conduct for clergy and other
persons in trust through employee handbooks, the Child Abuse Policy of the
Archdiocese and the Clergy Statement of Ethical Standards.
• The Archdiocese also noted the extensive screening and evaluation process for
those wishing to train to be priests.


The Archdiocese of Portland is committed to providing a safe environment for all
persons served in ministry. The Archdiocese is confident that the policies and
procedures in place, with due diligence on the part of all, will help ensure this safe
environment. The Child Abuse Policy of the Archdiocese is available on the web site:
www.archdpdx.org/abuse- policy-revised/.

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