Tomorrow morning I will depart for Washington, D.C. for Monday meetings. I recently agreed to an appointment on the Bishops Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. I am not yet sure of the extent or scope of the work of the committee, but it is an offshoot of the Charter developed in June 2002 in response to the sex abuse scandal that rocked the Church in the US. Similar revelations have since surfaced in Ireland, and are now surfacing in sizeable numbers in Germany and other nations.
In recent years, we as Church have responded in extensive, and hopefully helpful ways to those who have been abused, and implemented training programs for all church personnel to better protect our young people, and to recognize problematic behavior of potential abusers. Each person hired for church ministry which puts them in contact with youth must undergo a background check and training with regards to protecting our youth.
Diocesan Review Boards are now in place to examine any accusations that surface. Victim Advocates are also available to listen to those who have suffered abuse and assist them in telling their story, and aid them in their journey to find healing and wholeness. Each year audits are conducted in dioceses throughout the country to assure that all dioceses are in compliance with the essential norms of the Dallas Charter.
As a new bishop, I wish to publicly state here that I am always ready to meet with anyone who has suffered abuse at the hands of any church personnel. We as the Diocese of Cheyenne encourage anyone who has suffered abuse from church personnel to contact us so we may work with you to find the healing you deserve. We as Church are committed to the protection of our youth and young adults, and respecting the dignity of all our people.0