November 30, 2023
Justin Huyck, Director of Communications
(330) 744-8451, ext. 320; email@example.com
In November 2023, the Diocese of Youngstown received a letter of confirmation from StoneBridge Business Partners that the diocese has been found in full compliance with safe environment policies established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), for the audit period of July 1, 2020, through September 30, 2023. StoneBridge Business Partners is an independent auditing company contracted by the USCCB to work with dioceses in the United States and evaluate their compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, established by the USCCB in June 2002. The auditors report the results of the audit to the USCCB’s Secretariat of Youth and Child Protection.
The Diocese of Youngstown’s Safe Environment Policy continues to implement the charter through education, screening and response to allegations. This includes required background checks for all clergy, seminarians and employees in parishes, schools and diocesan institutions, as well as all volunteers who work with minors. It also includes safe environment training on how to recognize and prevent abuse, responding to allegations of abuse with compassion and competent care, the obligation to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect to the proper civil authorities and a commitment to regular audits.
The regular three-year auditing process consists of annual submission of data about the diocese’s safe environment efforts and culminates in a triennial on-site audit. The on-site audit took place this Fall, and included a review of diocesan records, parish records chosen by the auditors and interviews with Bishop David Bonnar and personnel from the Diocese of Youngstown.
Bishop Bonnar comments, “I want to thank everyone in the Church, our pastors, lay ecclesial ministers, and staff, our safe environment coordinators and every member of the faithful, for making sure that we remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent sexual abuse and respond to this evil when it does occur. We have made important strides over the past two decades, but we can never let down our guard. We must continue to protect young people, help bring about healing for victim survivors, and build an environment where all are safe and all can grow.”
Dominic Colucy, Safe Environment Coordinator for the Diocese of Youngstown, comments, “The audit and data collection process is an important part of the Church’s commitment to protect children and young people. Our parishes and schools have a compliance officer who is responsible for submitting the names of individuals working with children, young people and vulnerable adults to the diocese. We work together to ensure that these individuals have completed safe environment training and any required background checks in accordance with our diocesan Safe Environment Policy. All of our clergy, including the Bishop, are obliged to complete these requirements as well.”
The Diocese of Youngstown’s response to allegations of abuse by clergy or Church personnel is governed by civil law and its Safe Environment Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults, which is available at https://doy.org/safe-environment/. The Diocese of Youngstown encourages anyone who has experienced misconduct by a clergy member or Church employee to contact public authorities or the diocese directly through Dominic Colucy, Victims Assistance Coordinator at 330-744-8451 ext. 293 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the confidential diocesan response line: 330-718-1388.