CHILD PROTECTION EFFORTS - ST. LOUIS & ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI PARISHES
An update on our ongoing efforts to create a safe environment for our children and adults.
Within our Pastorate and our Diocese, the Church adheres to the following practices:
1 – Online Training for Child Protection
Any volunteer or staff member of the Catholic Church who has interaction with a minor under the age of 18 must complete a screening process called VIRTUS. This process includes:
- Completion of an online training course
- A national criminal background check
- Submission and verification of three (3) personal references
This applies to priests, deacons, parish staff, teachers, coaches, and parent volunteers.
2 - Psychological Evaluation for Clergy
When men apply to become priests or deacons, they also undergo special psychological evaluations to ensure that they have good emotional, psychological, and sexual maturity.
3 – Handling of Accusations
When an accusation is made of inappropriate conduct with a minor, and the Archdiocese deems it credible, the priest/deacon/teacher/coach/volunteer can no longer serve in any capacity. This is a strong stance. There is zero tolerance. The person cannot resume ministry unless proven innocent.
4 - Ongoing Review of Accusations
Another step the Church is taking is to have two different review boards that meet regularly to discuss any accusations or ongoing investigations in the Archdiocese of Baltimore involving our 140 parishes, 40 elementary schools, and 18 high schools. These boards are composed of lay men and women, as well as clergy. These boards include individuals in law enforcement and counseling.
5 - Ethics Hotline
The Archdiocese of Baltimore established an Ethics Hotline so that parishioners could forward ethical concerns about parish staff, clergy, and even bishops to the Archdiocese.
6 - Accountability
As early as 20 years ago, in 2002, Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore began publicly releasing the names of any priests in the Archdiocese who had been accused of inappropriate conduct with minors. At this time, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has given approximately $6 million to the victims to help them with counseling and rebuilding their lives. Since 2002, the Archdiocese has published the names of 150 priests and religious brothers who were credibly accused. This is an ongoing effort to be transparent to parishioners and people of our Archdiocese.