MARQUETTE - In 2013, the Catholic Diocese of Marquette was again found to be in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was adopted by the U.S. Catholic bishops in 2002 to address the problem of child and youth sexual abuse by clergy.
StoneBridge Business Partners of Rochester, New York conducted a full on-site audit of the diocese's compliance with the Charter in 2013. The diocese underwent data collection audits in 2011 and 2012.
During the audit period of July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, 2,828 children and youth received training in safe environment awareness in Diocese of Marquette Catholic schools and parishes.
In addition, 252 diocesan, parish and Catholic school employees and volunteers from throughout the U.P. were trained in the prevention of child and youth sexual abuse, bringing the total number of adults trained since 2002 to 3,644.
Currently, the Diocese of Marquette rechecks the background of every priest, religious, employee and volunteer every three years.
The Diocese of Marquette has a Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People that reviews diocesan policies and procedures for dealing with sexual abuse of minors, assists the bishop in assessing allegations of sexual misconduct against church workers and volunteers, and advises the bishop regarding the clergy's fitness for ministry.
Bishop John Doerfler said, "I am pleased that the Diocese of Marquette has been found compliant with the Charter, and I pledge to uphold robust standards to keep children safe. The doors of my heart are open to all those who have been harmed by the clergy sexual abuse of minors. I invite you to meet with me to share your pain with me."
To bring a complaint to the attention of the diocese, call one of the Victim's Assistance Coordinators, Stephen Lynott at 1-844-495-4330 or Diane Tryan at 1-844-694-4362. Both phone numbers are toll-free.
Those who wish to put their complaint in writing can direct their correspondence to: Victim's Assistance Coordinator, c/o Catholic Social Services of the U.P., 1100 Ludington St., Suite 401, Escanaba, MI 49829.
The letter should be marked "Personal and Confidential" and indicate whether a response is desired by phone or by letter.
The diocese will also help anyone bring their concerns to church officials outside the diocese if the sexual abuse occurred elsewhere and the person now resides in the Diocese of Marquette. If you are unsure about bringing a complaint or would like further information, contact Stephen Lynott or Diane Tryan at the phone numbers above.
The diocese always encourages those bringing a complaint to report the incident to local civil authorities. The diocese reports all allegations to the appropriate civil authorities.
Information regarding the Diocese of Marquette's safe environment program can be found on the diocese's website www.dioceseofmarquette.org by selecting Protecting Children on the menu bar.
The 2013 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in all U.S. dioceses has been posted on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' web site at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2013-Annual-Report.pdf.