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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

CHARLOTTE — The Diocese of Charlotte has again passed an annual independent audit of its child protection procedures.

The yearly audit conducted in August by Stonebridge Business Partners of Rochester, N.Y., monitors U.S. dioceses’ compliance with the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which addresses the Church’s commitment to respond effectively, appropriately and compassionately to cases of abuse of minors by clergy or other Church personnel.

The diocese’s efforts to ensure the protection of children include criminal background checks and educational awareness programs on recognizing and preventing abuse. Auditors have found the Charlotte diocese in compliance with the Charter every year since its inception.

In the previous fiscal year (July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017), the diocese conducted 4,068 background checks, which are required for all clergy, religious, employees and volunteers.

Since 2002, more than 48,900 adults have also received training in the safe environment awareness program entitled “Protecting God’s Children.” Last fiscal year, the diocese held 167 “Protecting God’s Children” workshops for 3,517 participants.

“Protecting God’s Children” helps adults learn to recognize the warning signs of abuse and the many ways that sexual abuse harms victims, families, parishes and communities. It teaches them appropriate ways to respond to suspicious behaviors and how they can help to prevent abuse.

The diocese has invested about $1.2 million over the past 13 fiscal years in the training program to prevent abuse.

The cost of these various child protection measures and the compliance review totaled $112,774 during the previous fiscal year.

The diocese provided financial assistance to, or on behalf of victims, totaling $9,540, all of which was for counseling and medical services. The diocese also incurred costs in connection with sexual misconduct lawsuits totaling $34,801.

Diocesan insurance funds and the diocesan general fund were used for payment. As in the past, none of these funds came from the Diocesan Support Appeal or from parish savings.
— Catholic News Herald