Green Bay
Catholic Diocese Orders Training to Prevent Sexual Abuse

By Sarah Thomsen
WBAY [Green Bay WI]
Downloaded July 22, 2003

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay wants to take a new, better approach to prevening the abuse of children. In order to achieve a no-tolerance policy for sexual abuse, the diocese is starting a new program this summer. If you have any contact with children at a Catholic church or school, you better sign up.

"An awareness level is being raised in all of us who are working with children that these things do happen to children," Pat Wadzinski said.

As a principal at the Catholic St. Joseph's School, Wadzinski learns to notice when children aren't acting normally. That's one reason she took one of the first three-and-a-half hour training sessions called Protecting God's Children.

The program teaches such things as, "Not to leave teachers open to areas or times where they could be misconstrued. You don't want to leave yourself alone with a student, you want to keep the doors open. Just common sense things," Wadzinski said.

On order from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Green Bay diocese came up with the program as part of the solution. It is the newest change to a 20-year-old policy.

"All personnel, lay volunteers, anyone who even works as a hall monitor or assistant coach in any of our schools or youth activities will have to participate in the program, which would be 3,000-plus people," Sister Mary Bride Grubbs, a victim assistance coordinator, said.

Psychologists show videos, including interviews with abused kids and with sexual predators.

"It is to help us all who come in contact with children to help us recognize the signs of sexual abuse," Sister Grubbs explained.

Once you take the class, you must follow up online every year.


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