Diocese in compliance with ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’
The Diocese of Camden has been found to be in compliance with all audited Articles within the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” for the 2014-15 audit period.
The U.S. bishops adopted the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” in 2002 in response to published revelations about the number of priests across the country who had molested children and especially the number of them who had been left in ministry or returned to ministry after church authorities learned of their actions.
In a letter to Bishop Dennis Sullivan, StoneBridge Business Partners of Rochester, N.Y., which conducted the on-site audit, stated, “The conclusions reached as to the compliance of your diocese are based upon inquiry, observation and the review of specifically requested documentation furnished to StoneBridge Business Partners during the course of this audit.”
One requirement of the Charter is that dioceses provide safe environment training to children, priests, deacons, candidates for ordination, educators, employees and volunteers. The Diocese of Camden offers CAP (Child Assault Prevention) sessions on a regular basis, with the requirement that those adults attend every five years. For information contact the Office of Child and Youth Protection, 856-583-6164, or go to http://www.camdendiocese.org/cyp/
Another requirement of the Charter is that all adults in regular contact with minors are background checked and cleared. Working with the FBI and New Jersey State Police, the Office of Child & Youth Protection utilizes fingerprints to ensure adults do not have criminal records.
Rod J. Herrera, director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the diocese, said that passing the Compliance Audit is a significant achievement “but not the most important goal.”
“Protecting our children is the highest priority. That’s our goal,” he said. “We must make sure no child is ever abused again by a member of the diocese, and we do that in part by adhering to the mandate of the Charter and following our own diocesan policies.”
Earlier this year Pope Francis said the leaders of the world’s bishops’ conferences and religious orders must ensure they are doing everything possible to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and are offering appropriate care for victims and their families.
“Priority must not be given to any other kind of concern, whatever its nature, such as the desire to avoid scandal, since there is absolutely no place in ministry for those who abuse minors,” he said in a written letter dated Feb. 2.