Catholic Church Continues Its Healing Process

By Nichole Vrsansky
February 18, 2005

The U.S. Catholic Church releases its annual child protection audit. It's a yearly report card on how churches are dealing with child abuse policies. Here's what the audit says about the Rockford Diocese.

The Rockford Diocese gets a passing grade on its child protection audit, but the Diocese doesn't go without new allegations of sexual abuse.

Diocesan spokesperson Penny Wiegert says seven people came forward with allegations against former priest, William Joffee.

The actions all happened between 20 and 29 years ago. Those were things reported in 2004, not things that allegedly happened in 2004," says Diocesan spokesperson Penny Wiegert.

Joffee was relieved of his duties more than 10 years ago. Proof, Weigert says, that the Rockford Diocese has no tolerance for sexual abuse.

"It represents that we've been serious about these allegations before we were required to be serious about them," adds Wiegert.

The audit also looks at prevention. In the Rockford Diocese, children as well as all employees and volunteers are educated routinely on how to spot and report sexual abuse.

"I think every person in the Rockford Catholic Diocese can go forward with confidence that every precaution is being taken to assure their safety," says Wiegert.

The audit also notes, keeping with church policy, the Diocese conducts yearly background checks on employees. They also have a 16-member intervention committee that looks into any allegations of abuse.

But Wiegert says no one active in the Diocese right now has ever been accused of sexual abuse.

You can read a summary of the Rockford Diocese 2005 audit on their website at


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