An independent firm that specializes in investigatory and analytical consulting has found that the Diocese of St. Petersburg is in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Stonebridge Business Partners of Rochester, New York conducted an audit of the Diocese’s Safe Environment policies and procedures on September 8-9, 2020.
Based on the results of their work, the diocese is compliant with all audited articles of the Charter for the audit period July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.
Stonebridge has been auditing the Diocese of St. Petersburg since 2011, both through onsite visits (every three years) and remote data collection (annually). During the audits, analysts conduct interviews with the diocesan Bishop and everyone involved with safe environment administration as well as survivors of sexual abuse by priests in the diocese. Each year, the Diocese of St. Petersburg has met or exceeded requirements of the audit.
This year was originally scheduled to be an on-site audit, but due to the pandemic, it was formatted for a “virtual” visit with Zoom interviews. The auditors spent two days interviewing diocesan leaders and checking records which are submitted annually by schools and parishes and reflect their compliance with Safe Environment policies for adults and children.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures originally established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in June, 2002 in response to allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter includes guidelines for creating a safe environment, as well as directives that assist with reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. It was revised in 2005, 2011, and 2018.