BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Diocese says that an independent audit shows they were in full compliance with the Catholic Church's child safety charter for 2019-2020.
Rochester firm StoneBridge Business Partners conducted the audit, which the diocese says required extensive data collection from schools, parishes and diocesan departments, including the documentation of procedures, training conducted, and hiring practices.
“This independent verification that the policies and procedures of the Diocese of Buffalo to ensure that our children are safe, that rigorous training is being conducted and reliable reporting mechanisms are in place should provide confidence and peace of mind to parents, families and our entire community,” said newly-installed Bishop Michael Fisher.
The 17 article charter the diocese was audited based on, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’, is called the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."
The diocese says that after providing the data, the firm came in and asked specific questions in 20 interviews, with sometimes more than one person questioned in an interview. Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, was the final interviewee of the process, the diocese says.
“We will continue to assess what more we can do to provide utmost assurance that the Diocese has zero-tolerance for any conduct by a bishop, priest, deacon, lay employee or volunteer that is not in keeping with both the spirit and letter of the Charter to protect young people," said Fisher. "This also includes ensuring appropriate conduct by, and toward, adults.”
Additionally, the diocese provided the following information for the community regarding reporting incidents of sexual abuse:
- To report sexual abuse by a member of clergy, an employee or volunteer of the Catholic church, contact the civil authorities and Jacqueline Joy, Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Buffalo
Hotline: (716) 895-3010 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Independent Third-Party Reporting can be made through EthicsPoint:
Visit the website: www.buffalodiocese.ethicspoint.com
Hotline: (844) 573-4177
- To report sexual misconduct by a bishop or eparch, contact the national reporting website or reporting hotline: Visit the website: www.ReportBishopAbuse.org
Hotline: (800) 276-1562