Catholic Star Herald [Camden NJ]
July 15, 2021
Every year, every diocese in the United States is audited by StoneBridge Business Partners to determine compliance with child and youth protection. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has contracted with this firm, which uses the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People as the guide.
Every three years, StoneBridge visits each diocese in an onsite audit. In May, a representative from StoneBridge met virtually with several diocesan officials, including Bishop Dennis Sullivan; Dr. Bill Watson, superintendent of Catholic schools; Father Adam Cichoski, director of vocations; members of the Diocesan Review Board; Sylvia Loumeau, victim assistance coordinator, and Rod J. Herrera, director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection.
The auditor examines several items including:
— That all allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest or deacon are reported to civil authorities and recorded in the audit documentation. During the three years of the audit, July 1, 2018, through March 31, 2021, there were no allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
— That all adult volunteers and employees in regular contact with minors have passed a criminal history background check and have received safe environment training.
— That the Diocesan Review Board meets every year on a regular basis to review all allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a member of the clergy and makes recommendations to the Bishop regarding his suitability for ministry. The board also reviews all policies regarding the protection of children.
— That all seminarians and candidates for the permanent diaconate are background checked and trained.
— That the Bishop informs major superiors of all priests from religious orders ministering in the Diocese about the policies regarding protection of children.
StoneBridge concluded that the Diocese of Camden is in full compliance with the charter.
“The Diocese of Camden is fully committed in its promise to protect all of our children and in our pledge to heal victims,” Herrera said.