The Diocese of Palm Beach will fully engage with the Florida Attorney General in an inquiry pertaining to the protection of young people. We are very pleased that Florida is initiating an effort which pertains not only to the Church but to all organizations and institutions. In fact, the Diocese of Palm Beach has been cooperating with the State Attorney even before the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops established the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, by directly reporting an allegation of abuse to that office, no matter how long ago it may have occurred.
The protection of young people is a priority for the Diocese of Palm Beach, which will be evident to the State personnel as they review the Diocesan policies and procedures. We have always been in full compliance with the Charter as evidenced by the extensive independent professional audit conducted each year. We welcome the opportunity to share our safety initiatives and zero tolerance policy. The Diocese of Palm Beach is optimistic that the proactive policies and procedures in effect will aid the State in assisting other organizations and institutions in providing protocols for the protection of children and young people.
The Diocese of Palm Beach is committed to sustaining its comprehensive initiatives to protect young people and to utilizing the most useful developments in the field of child protection. Currently, all Diocese of Palm Beach church personnel (priests, deacons, religious, seminarians, deacon aspirants, employees, independent contractors, and those volunteers whose duties include contact with minors) are required to submit a Level 2 criminal background investigation, which is updated every five years. This policy applies even if an individual has been cleared through an FBI or FDLE check conducted by their employer or another non-Diocesan entity. In addition, all church personnel, are required to successfully complete safe environment training through the VIRTUS training program. They also must sign and comply with the Diocese’s Code of Pastoral Conduct.
To learn more about the Diocese of Palm Beach’s continued commitment to the safety of young people please visit www.diocesepb.org/safe-environments. As always, the hotline to report abuse is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-96ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). A Diocesan hotline for reporting abuse by any church personnel is also available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, at (561) 801-0999.