ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, November 15, 2004 – Independent auditors found the Diocese of Rockville Centre to be in full compliance with the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. A team of auditors from the Gavin Group spent five days on Long Island (October 25 - 29, 2004) assessing the diocesan implementation of the Charter, which was adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in June of 2002.
“The results of the independent audit validate our unyielding commitment to the protection of children and young people,” said The Most Reverend William Murphy, S.T.D., L.H.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. “It sends a clear message that the diocese is and will continue to be vigilant when it comes to safeguarding children and young people.”
As part of the Charter, the Diocese of Rockville Centre completed more than 25,000 criminal background screenings of priests, deacons, religious and lay staff members and volunteers who serve in diocesan agencies or any of the 134 parishes in the diocese.
Background screenings are part of a larger effort, which includes requiring Church employees and volunteers to participate in the safe environment program, “Protecting God’s Children.” More than 7,000 employees and volunteers have completed the program, developed by VIRTUS, a division of the National Catholic Risk Retention Group. This program teaches staff and volunteers how to be on the alert for cases of sexual abuse and how to report it.
“Our continuing mission is to promote a safe environment for all people in the Church, beginning with the most vulnerable, including children, the homebound, the sick and the elderly. The goal here is to ensure children and young people are safe when they attend our programs,” said Eileen Puglisi, director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People, Diocese of Rockville Centre.
In addition to the safe environment program, the diocese opened a satellite office for the Protection of Children and Young People at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary parish in Southampton, N.Y. The Diocese also formed a pastoral care team of priests and religious women to provide trained spiritual support to victim-survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. In August, a Safe Environment program called “Talk 2 Us” was provided to all parishes, schools and religious education programs. This program encourages high school young people to take an active role in preventing abuse by becoming active, involved and informed members of their school. The office also recently organized a support group for those who survived abuse in the Church.
To report abuse, the diocese maintains a confidential hotline (516-594-9063). The diocese also has a website for the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People that serves as a source of information about available diocesan services. It can be reached by visiting www.drvc.org and clicking on the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People button. The director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People is Eileen Puglisi and she can be reached at 516-678-5800, ext. 573.
The Gavin Group, headed by William Gavin, an experienced compliance auditor formerly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to audit all 195 Catholic dioceses and eparchies in the United States to see how they were and are conforming to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.5 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3 million). There are 134 parishes in 119 towns. Last year over 21,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 21,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,622 students in kindergarten, 26,738 in primary or elementary school, 11,979 in secondary school and 9,310 in higher institutions. There are 77 Catholic elementary schools, high schools and colleges/universities in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. These facilities served over 743,000 people last year. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. For more information visit www.drvc.org.
CONTACT: Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
(p) 516-678-5800, ext. 625