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Archdiocese Updates Child Protection Decree

CONTACT:
Dan Andriacco
Director, Office of Communications
513/421-3131 After hours: 421-3144
FAX: 421-6225
E-MAIL: communications@CatholicCincinnati.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 9, 2008

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has issued a new version of its Decree on Child Protection, the protective policies, procedures and recommendations that apply to all of its parishes, schools, agencies and institutions.

The original Decree on Child Abuse was promulgated by Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk in March, 1993. It became the Decree on Child Protection in 1997 and was last updated in 2003 in line with Archdiocese policy that the Decree be updated every five years in the light of experience.

The new booklet containing the Decree is 52 pages long vs. the former 44 pages. More than 600 church personnel attended 12 workshops outlining the changes. Among dozens of additions and alterations in the latest version are the following:

  • The addition of a statement that, “It is the intention of the Archdiocese that no person who has been convicted of sexually abusing a child will work with children at an office, parish, school, agency or institution of the Archdiocese.”
  • An expansion in the definition of a regular volunteer – and therefore affected by numerous provisions of the Decree – to include any adult who participants in an overnight event with children.
  • A provision that candidates for ordination or employment whose names are listed on the state of Ohio’s civil registry of persons found liable in a declaratory judgment for assault or battery will not be admitted to the seminary or deacon formation, or be hired.
  • An extensive list of behaviors that are prohibited, as well as those that are appropriate (handshakes, “high fives,” etc.)
  • A requirement (formerly a recommendation) that personnel supplied by a third-party contractor who work have contact with children have gone through an acceptable background check through fingerprinting.
  • A policy that clerics, employees, and regular volunteers use prudence when communicating with a child. Specifically, any suggestive or inappropriate manipulative communications are forbidden.
  • A provision that a victim of child abuse who would not feel comfortable in an orientation workshop may confidentially request the training materials in an alterative way.

The complete text is online at www.CatholicCincinnati.org. Click on “Protecting Our Children.”

“This Decree seeks to protect, enhance and, in some cases, restore the trust that our faith calls for between the Church and the children and adolescents entrusted to their care,” said the Most Rev. Daniel E. Pilarczyk, archbishop of Cincinnati.

“Over the last several years, I have met with a number of people who have been harmed by agents of the Archdiocese. I have personally witnessed the hurt and anger that is involved in child abuse. To victims and their families I again extend my sincere apology and ask forgiveness on behalf of the Archdiocese for the harm inflicted by any agents of the Archdiocese. I ask for your continued prayers for healing and reconciliation.”

Archbishop Pilarczyk urges anyone who was abused as a child by a priest or any other representative of the Archdiocese, or knows someone who was, to report the abuse immediately to the secular legal authorities and to the Victim Assistance Coordinator of the Archdiocese, Sister Mary Garke, at (513) 421-3131 or 1 (800) 686-2724.

Since 1993, more than 81,000 clergy, employees and volunteers who work with children have been trained in the Decree’s provisions. In addition, more than 59,000 persons who work with children on behalf of the Archdiocese have been fingerprinted. As a result of information learned through the fingerprinting, 266 potential volunteers or employees have been denied the opportunity to be in positions that involved contact with children.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 26th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with almost 500,000 Catholics, and has the eighth largest network of Catholic schools in terms of enrollment. The 19-county territory includes 221 parishes and 113 Catholic primary and secondary schools.