The Diocese of Greensburg (“the Diocese”), established in 1951, encompasses four counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Diocese has 96 active diocesan priests, 103 parishes, two high schools, and 23 elementary schools. The Most Reverend Anthony G. Bosco, installed as bishop in June 1987, leads the Diocese and Catholic community of 183,000. A compliance audit was conducted during the period of August 18-21, 2003.
The information presented below represents conditions as they were found during the week of the audit.
To Promote Healing and Reconciliation
The Diocese has an outreach program as incorporated in the Policy of the Diocese of Greensburg for Clergy Sexual Misconduct and as implemented by use of a pastoral care team established in February 2002 to respond to allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The outreach program provides for counseling, spiritual assistance, and other services, as well as cooperation with social service agencies and other churches. Dr. Paul Niemiec, director of counseling for Catholic Charities, and Fr. Raymond E. Riffle, executive director of Catholic Charities, have been designated by the bishop to lead the a team to coordinate the immediate pastoral care for persons who claim to have been sexually abused by clergy or other church personnel. A six-member review board established in March 2002 and possessing a range of expertise serves as a confidential consultative body to the bishop. An explanation of the board’s role is included in the diocesan policy monograph, which was printed in the July 2002 issue of the diocesan newspaper and which also appears on the diocesan website. No confidentiality agreements have been entered into since June 2002. The bishop was commended for his proactive and forward thinking in response to allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.
To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
Reports of sexual abuse by clergy are referred to the Greensburg district attorney. A procedure is in place for the Diocese to advise victims/survivors of their right to make a report to public authorities. The policy of the Diocese addresses the processes for handling abuse complaints. The Minor Protection Policy, approved in April 2002, addresses standards of ministerial behavior, contact with children, and preventive intervention for clergy and other church personnel who have regular contact with children. This policy was disseminated to all pastors in the Diocese in May 2002 and was discussed at four deanery meetings during that month. The Diocese has an articulated, established communications policy that reflects openness and transparency.
To Ensure Accountability of Procedures
The Diocese has participated in the research study regarding the “nature and scope” of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.
To Protect the Faithful in the Future
The Diocese has a multi-faceted safe environment program that provides training for parents, educators, clergy, employees, and volunteers who regularly work with youth. The Diocese has adopted the VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children program. The overall diocesan policy incorporates standards of conduct for clergy and others in positions of trust. The Diocese has a thorough background evaluation program for diocesan and parish personnel and has utilized the resources of the state of Pennsylvania to request criminal record checks and child abuse history clearances. Screening and evaluation procedures are used in evaluating the fitness of candidates for ordination. There have been two instances since June 2002 in which a priest who resigned or was removed from ministry moved out of the Diocese of Greensburg to another diocese; in both cases, the bishop notified the respective bishops of the new locations and the status of each individual. Since June 2002, no cleric who has had a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor lodged against him has been transferred to or from the Diocese either for ministerial or residency purposes. The bishop has met with an archabbot of an archabbey in the Diocese and addressed the monastic community regarding response procedures to allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy. The Diocese has participated in and supported local and state initiatives combating domestic and sexual violence. Formal ongoing formation of clergy programs have been developed and implemented. The Diocese has a systematic, ongoing formation program in keeping with the Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests (2001).1
Compliance with the Provisions of the Charter
At the conclusion of this audit, the Diocese of Greensburg was found to be compliant with the provisions of the Charter as measured by the process described in Chapter 2 in Section I and was issued one Commendation.
COMMENDATION—For proactive and forward thinking in response to allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy, including revision of the 1985 Clergy Sexual Misconduct Policy and establishment of the Pastoral Care Team.
The compliance audit measured activity that has occurred since the adoption of the Charter in June 2002 with the exception of certain mandated actions found in Articles 5 and 14. Actions taken by the diocese/eparchy prior to June 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons are not included in this summary report.
Office of Child and Youth Protection
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1194
(202) 541-5413 | FAX: (202) 541-5410