Pittsburgh Diocese Updates Misconduct Policy

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [Pittsburgh PA]
June 13, 2003

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has updated its sexual misconduct policy to include all lay church employees and volunteers.

The policy, which was first published in 1993 and revised in October, previously applied only to priests and deacons. The addition is a response to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which the U.S. bishops adopted a year ago in response to the failure of many bishops to remove from ministry priests who were known to have molested minors.

"We want to establish a safe environment for all of our children," said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese. "We believe we are in full compliance with the charter."

Like the policy for clergy, this addresses any "behavior by which an adult uses a minor as an object of sexual gratification." It promises that the diocese will immediately report all allegations to authorities and that the employee or volunteer will be suspended at least until a preliminary investigation has been completed.

If the allegation is judged credible by either the civil authorities or the church, the person will not return to work for the church. If the allegation is deemed unfounded, "appropriate steps" will be taken to repair any damage to the person's reputation, it said.

The diocese will soon offer a training program called "Protecting God's Children," to help parents recognize and prevent sexual abuse of their children, Lengwin said.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.