Diocese of Buffalo says audit shows it to be complying with youth safety procedures
By Michael Mroziak
WBFO / NPR
February 02, 2021
|St. Joseph's Cathedral in downtown Buffalo, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.|
The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo says a newly-completed audit by a Rochester firm finds it is fully complying with guidelines put forth to protect children and young people from harm.
StoneBridge Business Partners looked at the years 2019 and 2020, collecting and measuring data from parishes, schools and key diocesan departments. The information collected covers topics including appropriate training, screening and hiring processes and procedures for working with victims.
The purpose of the audit was to determine whether the Diocese of Buffalo has been following the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In a written statement released by the Diocese Tuesday, Bishop Michael Fisher announced the audit finds the Diocese had been in full compliance.
“This independent verification that the policies and procedures of the Diocese of Buffalo to ensure that our children are safe, that rigorous training is being conducted and reliable reporting mechanisms are in place should provide confidence and peace of mind to parents, families and our entire community,” said Fisher, who was installed as the 15th Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo last month. “We will continue to assess what more we can do to provide utmost assurance that the Diocese has zero-tolerance for any conduct by a bishop, priest, deacon, lay employee or volunteer that is not in keeping with both the spirit and letter of the Charter to protect young people. This also includes ensuring appropriate conduct by, and toward, adults.”
The Diocese of Buffalo is named in more than 250 lawsuits by plaintiffs accusing clergy of past sexual abuse, and accusing church leaders of covering up those cases.
The diocese posts its policy and procedures online. WBFO placed a call to StoneBridge to learn more about its auditing process and was referred to the video posted below.