Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Pennsylvania Diocese Reaches Agreement With Prosecutors On New Child Protection Measures

As previously reported, a year ago a Pennsylvania Grand Jury filed a lengthy Report on sexual abuse of children by Pennsylvania Catholic clergy. On Monday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown announced a memorandum of understanding on reforms by the Diocese, summarizing the core reforms as follows:
  • The creation of an independent, multidisciplinary oversight board;
  • The retention of an outside expert to develop a new, comprehensive child abuse prevention program;
  • A reporting protocol that requires the Diocese to report allegations of child sexual abuse to law enforcement within twelve hours after receipt; and
  • Counseling and support services for victims by qualified and independent mental health professionals chosen by the victims.
Reporting on the new agreement, AP says that it also requires the Diocese to immediately take priests accused of abuse out of positions where they have contact with minors, and place them on leave within 24 hours.