By JORDAN MCMORROUGH
CHARLESTON – In order to continue its efforts and commitment to protect those in the Church’s care as well as the Church itself, the Diocese of Charleston is expanding its methods used to screen all current and prospective Church personnel serving in all roles in the diocese.
A new screening policy will be implemented in July.
“Educational sessions (concerning the policy and procedures for screening and background checks) will be provided throughout the diocese over the next several months,” stated Bishop David B. Thompson in a June 10 letter sent to pastors and pastoral administrators, principals, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, seminarians, diocesan curia members and department managers. “The focus of these sessions will be to explain the new screening policy and to increase awareness and knowledge regarding the prevention, recognition, and reporting requirements for child abuse, neglect and sexual misconduct.
“All priests, deacons, seminarians, religious sisters and brothers, and employees engaged in diocesan, parish, school and other church sponsored ministries will be required to attend and participate in one of these educational sessions,” the Bishop added.
Further, Bishop Thompson said, the diocese has contracted with Fidelifacts to serve as the third party agent to facilitate the background investigations. It is hoped by diocesan officials to have all current church personnel screened by Nov. 1. Therefore the diocese will pay for the screens done prior to Nov. 1 for all current and new church personnel. After Nov. 1, the costs for the background screens will become the responsibility of the parish, school or other diocesan institution.
The second phase of the screening process, which will include volunteers who serve in ministries involving children and “vulnerable” adults and/or responsibilities for fiscal matters, will begin in mid late November 1999.
Schedule of educational sessions for child abuse awareness and the new screening policy for church personnel
June 23, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Charleston – St. Joseph Church
June 30, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Charleston – St. Joseph Church
July 14, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Garden City – St. Michael Church
July 14, 2-5 p.m., Florence – St. Anthony Church
July 15, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Columbia – St. John Neumann School
July 15, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Columbia – St. John Neumann School
July 20, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Greenville – St. Mary Church
July 20, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Greenville – St. Mary Church
July 21, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Spartanburg – St. Paul Church