Audit shows Camden Diocese to be compliant with Charter

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An on-site audit of the Diocese of Camden has shown it to be compliant with all audited Articles within the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for the 2017-18 audit period.

“The conclusions reached as to the compliance of your diocese are based upon inquiry, observation and the review of specially requested documentation furnished to StoneBridge Business Partners during the course of this audit,” StoneBridge wrote in a letter to Bishop Dennis Sullivan on Dec. 19, 2018.

Rod J. Herrera, a licensed clinical social worker and director of the diocese’s Office of Child and Youth Protection, said that the audit is both thorough and effective.

“Every year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops directs an outside firm to conduct a compliance audit of every diocese. Every third year, that audit is on site,” he said.

“In December an auditor spent two full days here. He looked at our various policies in place to protect children and to report instances of abuse. He examined and analyzed the way my office audits each parish and school to ascertain and confirm safe environment compliance. Every adult in regular contact with children in the Diocese of Camden has been background checked and trained to recognize child sexual abuse. Passing this audit assures me that we are keeping the promise to protect our children,” Herrara said.

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures originally established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. It was revised in 2005, 2011 and 2018.

The Charter directs action in:

— Creating a safe environment for children and young people;

— Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors;

— Making prompt and effective response to allegations;

— Cooperating with civil authorities;

— Disciplining offenders;

— Providing for means of accountability for the future to ensure the problem continues to be effectively dealt with through the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board.