|For Release :
March 30, 2006
Audit Finds Archdiocese "Fully Compliant" with Charter for Protection of Children and Young People
On October 26 and 27, 2005, the Archdiocese of Newark participated in a focused on-site audit by the Gavin Group of Boston, Massachusetts, which had been contracted to conduct audits of all Catholic dioceses in the United States. The Archdiocese of Newark received a focused on-site audit because, at time of its October 2004 on-site audit, the Archdiocese had not completed background screening on a small number of priests and deacons. That screening process was completed in November 2004, and the Archdiocese was determined to be in full compliance with the Charter in 2004.
The Archdiocese reported that it had received 12 allegations of misconduct in 2005, all occurring decades before they were reported. None of the allegations had been brought to the attention either of the Archdiocese or local authorities previously. The Archdiocese made local prosecutors aware of the allegations at the time they were brought forward, and cooperated with prosecutors. Outreach to victims was instituted, and counseling and other services were made available.
Ten priests were named in the allegations. Five of the ten priests were deceased at the time the allegations were brought forward, so a full inquiry was not possible. Three were removed from ministry permanently following an investigation by the Archdiocesan Review Board and appropriate canonical process. One had resigned from the priesthood many years before the allegation was received. One returned to ministry after an investigation by the Archdiocesan Review Board determined the allegation to be unfounded.
The audit also sought information related to implementation of sexual abuse awareness training for children and youth served by the Archdiocese. At the time of the 2005 audit, some 49,500 students in Catholics schools in the Archdiocese had participated in the Teaching Touching Safety program sponsored by the Archdiocese.
The 65,500 students in religious education programs were served through the Child Assault Protection (CAP) program, a state-mandated awareness program in public schools in New Jersey.
Also at the time of the audit, some 24,100 clergy, religious, lay staff and volunteers had completed the Protecting God's Children sexual abuse awareness program.
Since institution of the Charter, some 22,370 priests, deacons, educators, diocesan employees, parish employees, volunteers and candidates for ordination have undergone criminal background screenings.
Since 1950, the total financial cost to the Archdiocese related to allegations of sexual misconduct, including legal fees, counseling and support services, and payments, has amounted to some $3.7 million. The amounts paid out in settlements and other fees and expenses have come completely from insurance funds and not general revenues, parish collections or funds designated for school support. Consequently, the payments made over the past 55 years have had no effect on the daily operations or existence of any parish, school or other institution of the Archdiocese.
Commenting on the release of the comprehensive audit and Newark's participation in it, Newark Archbishop John J. Myers stated: "The people of the Archdiocese should take comfort in knowing that we take most seriously the purpose and goals of the Charter. By sharing this knowledge and through training of our staff, volunteers and children, we hope to contribute to the broader awareness of this problem in society and to a deeper commitment to wiping it out."