Cover of U.S. bishops' Charter for Protection of Children.
What you are about to read won’t appear in the secular media. And that’s too bad, because such reporting would create a safer world for children.
The 2012 audit of Catholic dioceses for compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People found a drop in the number of allegations, the number of victims and the number of offenders.
Last year saw the fewest allegations and victims reported since data collection for the annual reports began in 2004. Most allegations reported last year were from the 1970s and ‘80s with many of the alleged offenders already deceased or removed from ministry in the priesthood.
Auditors said law enforcement found six credible cases in dioceses among 34 allegations of abuse of minors in 2012 itself. Credibility of 15 of the allegations was still under investigation. Law enforcement found 12 allegations to be unfounded or unable to be proven. Almost all the dioceses in the nation were found compliant with the audit. That includes the Archdiocese of Portland.
The key to safety for children is awareness and diligence. In western Oregon, parishes and diocesan offices are training pastors, staff, volunteers and youths. Auditors found that more than 99 percent of clergy and more than 96 percent of employees and volunteers were trained in safe environment programs nationwide. In addition, more than 4.6 million children received safe environment training.
A few dioceses did not provide enough access. These awful lapses are anomalies. The report noted that most dioceses are trying hard, and spending what they must — a total of $26.5 million nationwide for child protection programs.
As the church has become a leader in keeping children safe, secular media really ought to report on our successful efforts. That is the only way such measures will catch on in a wider society where abuse is still grotesquely common.