March 22, 2006

Archdiocese lags on student training

Boston Globe

By Charles A. Radin, Globe Staff | March 22, 2006

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has failed to provide safety training to about 40 percent of the children in its religious education classes and schools, despite a commitment made to provide such training in response to the clergy sexual-abuse scandal, archdiocesan officials said yesterday.

The officials said that an independent audit found the archdiocese in compliance with all other requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002.

About 119,000 children, many of them parochial school students, have received instruction in understanding what is safe and unsafe touching, and what to do if unsafe touching occurs, said Deacon Anthony Rizzuto, director of the archdiocesan office of child advocacy. But about 90,000 children, almost all of them religious-education students in the parishes, have not.

In telephone interviews yesterday, Rizzuto and the Rev. John Connolly, who is Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley's special assistant for dealing with the sexual-abuse crisis in the church, said the deficiencies in training resulted from reluctance among the 17,000 volunteers who teach religious education to discuss the subject of touching with children. He also blamed resistance among some priests and directors of education to embark on new programs while a massive consolidation of churches was underway.

Posted by kshaw at March 22, 2006 07:15 AM