A Letter from the Bishop
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
In response to the unacceptable matter of sexual abuse by priests and others working on behalf of the Church, the Diocese of Palm Beach has joined with its sister dioceses in condemning this behavior and instituting procedures and programs to protect children and vulnerable adults. The Diocese of Palm Beach has pledged to promote healing for victims and continues to refine its efforts to provide a safe environment for all, through its Office of Safe Environment. The Diocese of Palm Beach follows the requirements set out by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The USCCB regularly conducts audits in each Diocese and the Diocese of Palm Beach has been found to be in compliance in every instance. All staff and volunteers, including clergy and religious, go through criminal background checks and screening coordinated by the Office of Safe Environment. All are required to complete VIRTUS training and every staff person and volunteer is rescreened every five years. Any priest coming from outside the Diocese for a short period of time is required to present proof of good standing and priests who will be remaining for longer assignments must follow the same procedures as any other employee or volunteer.
All allegations of misconduct are investigated and any priest or other person found to be the subject of a credible allegation will be promptly removed from ministry. You may be sure that legal requirements for mandatory report of child abuse are followed and appropriate referrals are made to law enforcement authorities. Finally, the Diocese of Palm Beach follows the procedures of canon law in dealing with priests and others who have committed misconduct.
If you or someone you know, is a victim of sexual abuse by any person (clergy, religious or lay) acting on behalf of the Church, please contact us. The staff of the Office of Safe Environment is here to help anyone seeking assistance and wholeness. The Diocese of Palm Beach is committed to promoting healing and reconciliation and responding effectively and responsibly to allegations of abuse.
I ask you to pray for victims who have suffered because of this abuse. May Almighty God bless our continued efforts to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm.
With gratitude for your support and prayers in this and every matter, and with every prayerful wish, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
Bishop of Palm Beach
The Office Of Safe Environments
The Office of Safe Environments oversees the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults. Recognizing that each individual is created by God, the Diocese of Palm Beach is committed to the safety and well-being of its children and vulnerable adults and implements procedures to minimize risk and barriers and to build and foster a culture of safe environment. The diocese does not tolerate abuse or neglect of anyone. It will comply with all obligations of civil and canon law; it will promote healing where it is needed, provide education, training and guidance when it is appropriate, and endeavor to prevent any abuse of minors or vulnerable adults with firm justice and mercy towards all.
VIRTUS Protecting God's Children for Adults
Children need safe adults. Safe adults are ones who are looking out for the child’s best interests and upholding the child’s rights and boundaries. They consistently honor the parents’ rules and those of the organizations to which they belong. Safe adults behave transparently, and there are certain actions that are expected of safe adults when it comes to protecting youth. This article provides tangible tips on what to communicate to children about their safety. Continued …..
A person receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult by Church Personnel must immediately report the allegation. Our policy requires priests to report allegations that are made in a spiritual counseling context, even though the law exempts ministers from the requirement of reporting. The only exception to this is the confidentiality of the confessional. At the outset, alleged victims and/or families should be informed of this requirement. Continued …..