Diocese releases independent audit findings on abuse policies

Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre PA)

March 6, 2021

By Mark Guydish

The Diocese of Scranton announced that an independent audit determined full compliance with child sex abuse prevention policies set by the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A media release noted the local diocese has passed such audits of its procedures every year since the policy was adopted by the USCCB in 2002. The latest audit was done by StoneBridge Business Partners base in New York, contracted to conduct such work in all 195 U.S. Dioceses.

“The findings are a result of a review of data collected for the 2019/2020 Charter audit period,” according to a media release issued Friday. “The annual audit evaluates each diocese’s efforts to ensure the protection of children, including criminal background checks and educational awareness programs on recognizing and preventing abuse.”

The diocese provided information to the auditors, including:

• A total 11,526 students currently enrolled in Catholic schools in the diocese or in parish religious education programs received Safe Environment training.

• The training has also been provided to 232 active ministry priests, 72 permanent deacons and 25 seminarians and candidates for the Diaconate.

• “Valuable information to keep children safe” has also been provided to More than 425 educators and administrators in diocesan schools, more than 1,160 employees of parishes across 11 counties, and 3,598 volunteers in schools, parishes and other diocesan facilities.

• More than 3,180 individuals completed training on recognizing and reporting child abuse in Pennsylvania.

Bishop Bambera
Bishop Bambera

“This independent verification highlights the ongoing commitment that the Diocese of Scranton, along with its parishes and schools, has in protecting children,” Bishop Joseph Bambera said in the release. “Our long record of compliance emphasizes that reliable reporting mechanisms are in place to ensure our zero-tolerance for any misconduct by a bishop, priest, deacon, lay employee or volunteer.”