March 21, 2006

Shortcomings revealed in background checks, prevention programs


By Clarke Canfield, Associated Press Writer | March 21, 2006

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine --Maine's Roman Catholic diocese is falling short in conducting background checks on all volunteers and employees and providing sexual abuse prevention training for minors in the church's care, according to an audit released Tuesday.

Bishop Richard Malone announced the findings of an outside audit that assessed compliance with the Catholic church's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, commonly known as the Dallas Charter.

The audit, conducted in December, found that the diocese has completed background checks on 87 percent of the 4,570 volunteers and employees in its database, Malone announced at a news conference at the Holy Cross School. It also found that 33 percent of the children at its schools or in its religious education programs had undergone sexual abuse prevention training.

As a result of the findings, Malone has ordered that all background checks be completed by April 18. If the paperwork isn't done by then, employees without background checks will be put on unpaid leaves of absence and volunteers will be prohibited from volunteering in any capacity.

Posted by kshaw at March 21, 2006 03:32 PM