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What's next for the Harrisburg Diocese? How they're now planning to protect children

Harrisburg Diocese - 6 PK.jpg

The Diocese of Harrisburg released Wednesday a list of 71 names of priests accused of sexually abusing children since the 1940s.

According to the Diocese, the newly released information came from their own internal investigation on child sex abuse.

In a press conference, Bishop Ronald W. Gainer said he "felt it was critical to get this information out to the public and our parishioners as soon as possible" while the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered a stay of the Grand Jury's full report.

The Diocese announced that in addition to releasing the names of the accused, they were launching a new website with information on how to report child sexual abuse, contact information for the Victim Assistance Office, and information on how the church is dealing with the issues of abuse.

According to Bishop Gainer, the Diocese has launched an "aggressive" Safe Environment Program with procedures and guidelines for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy or other employees.

Youth Protection efforts by the Diocese include:

  • Working aggressively to root out abusers in ministry or employment with the Diocese
  • Reporting every allegation the Diocese receives to the District Attorney of the county involved
  • Helping survivors to heal with Victims Assistance Coordinators
  • Screening all employees and volunteers with multiple background checks and certifications
  • Training people ton recognize and report abuse by requiring all clergy, employee, and volunteer to complete a state approved online training program
  • Teaching students how to stay safe and aware
  • Providing ID badges for everyone who completed the requirements of the Diocesan Youth Protection Program
  • Executing prudent and prompt inquiry and reporting of each accusation
  • Openly communicating with all involved and support due process
  • Complying with national standards for youth protection

During the press conference, Bishop Gainer apologized, saying "I express our profound sorrow and apologize to the survivors of child sex abuse, the Catholic faith, and the general public for the abuses that took place and for those Church officials who failed to protect children."

If you want to make a complaint about child sex abuse, you can call the toll-free PA Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-932-0313.

To report suspected child abuse by a church official, employee, or volunteer, you can call the Diocesan toll-free hotline at 1-800-626-1608 or email ReportAbuse@hbgdiocese.org.



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