CATHOLIC CHURCH Diocese violates charter by failing to report statistics
The Youngstown Diocese should be in compliance in a month.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Diocese of Youngstown is one of only seven of 200 Catholic dioceses in the United States not in full compliance with all articles of a charter to protect children and young people.
The charter was adopted in June 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops after a child sex abuse scandal rocked the Catholic church.
Nancy Yuhasz, the diocese's chancellor, said the diocese failed to produce the number of people receiving sexual abuse awareness training, and the number of people who had background checks.
Those two items were new this year, and the diocese didn't know it needed those numbers until auditors came to the city to review their charter, Yuhasz said. Otherwise, the diocese is in full compliance, she said.
The reason the diocese doesn't have those items is because it was the responsibility of its 116 parishes and 49 schools to compile the information, Yuhasz said.
The information should be available in a month, she said. Also, the diocese, Yuhasz said, will take back control of that responsibility, given to the parishes and schools in 1996.
"Knowing that we have really good programs in place, it was disappointing to be listed as not being in compliance," she said.
The Diocese of Youngstown was in full compliance during the 2003 audit and received three commendations for its program.
The diocese fully implemented a "safe environment" program, and a comprehensive program for all personnel categories, Yuhasz said. The diocese also conducts background checks, and has a clear and well-publicized standard of conduct for persons in positions of trust with regard to sexual abuse, she said.
The Youngstown Diocese conducted an investigation after the nationwide clergy sex abuse scandal, and disclosed last year that 19 priests over the past 50 years were accused of sexual abuse, Yuhasz said. Some of the allegations were substantiated, and most occurred between 20 years and 40 years ago, she said. The most recent allegation in the Youngstown Diocese is 14 years old, she said.
"No priests in our ministry now had a substantiated allegation," she said.
The diocese includes Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Portage, Stark and Ashtabula counties.
The U.S. Catholic church spent $158 million for sex abuse related activities, with more than $106 million paid in settlements to victims last year, according to the church report.