Office of Safe Environments

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Reporting Abuse


A Letter from the Bishop

          Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

          In response to the unacceptable matter of sexual abuse by priests
          and others working on behalf of the Church, the Diocese of Palm
          Beach has  joined with its sister dioceses in condemning this
          behavior and instituting  procedures and programs to protect
          children and vulnerable adults. The Diocese of Palm Beach has
          pledged to promote healing for victims and  continues to refine its efforts to provide a safe
          environment for all, through its Office of Safe  Environment. The Diocese of Palm Beach
          follows the requirements set out by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the
          Protection of Children and Young People.  The USCCB regularly conducts audits in each
          Diocese and the Diocese of Palm Beach has been found to be in compliance in every
          instance.  All staff and volunteers, including clergy and religious, go through  criminal background checks and screening coordinated by the Office of Safe Environment.  All are required to complete VIRTUS training and every staff person and volunteer is rescreened every five years.  Any priest coming from outside the Diocese for a short period of time is required to present proof of good standing and priests who will be remaining for longer assignments must follow the same procedures as any other employee or volunteer.

All allegations of misconduct are investigated and any priest or other person found to be the subject of a credible allegation will be promptly removed from ministry. You may be sure that legal requirements for mandatory report of child abuse are followed and appropriate referrals are made to law enforcement authorities.  Finally, the Diocese of Palm Beach follows the procedures of canon law in dealing with priests and others who have committed misconduct.

If you or someone you know, is a victim of sexual abuse by any person (clergy, religious or lay) acting on behalf of the Church, please contact us.  The staff of the Office of Safe Environment is here to help anyone seeking assistance and wholeness.  The Diocese of Palm Beach is committed to promoting healing and reconciliation and responding effectively and responsibly to allegations of abuse. 

I ask you to pray for victims who have suffered because of this abuse.  May Almighty God bless our continued efforts to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm.

With gratitude for your support and prayers in this and every matter, and with every prayerful wish, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito

Bishop of Palm Beach



The Office of Safe Environments oversees the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults. Recognizing that each individual is created by God, the Diocese of Palm Beach is committed to the safety and well-being of its children and vulnerable adults and implements procedures to minimize risk and barriers and to build and foster a culture of safe environment.  The diocese does not tolerate abuse or neglect of anyone.  It will comply with all obligations of civil and canon law; it will promote healing where it is needed, provide education, training and guidance when it is appropriate, and endeavor to prevent any abuse of minors or vulnerable adults with firm justice and mercy towards all.