I am saddened and angry to learn of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report that spans a 70-year period and details tragic incidents by priests accused of abusing and exploiting children.
In response to this report and also the recent allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, I recommit my efforts to protecting youth and vulnerable adults from any type of abuse.
In the Diocese of St. Petersburg, we comply with the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People (Charter), which was adopted in June 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that requires background screening and Safe Environment Program training for all who may have the care, responsibility, and/or supervision of Children and young people. Our diocese responds promptly to all credible allegations of abuse and removes the abuser from ministry. Additionally, we list the names of priests of the Diocese of St. Petersburg who have been accused of abuse on the Diocesan website.
I urge anyone who has been a victim of abuse by a member of the clergy or any representative of the Church to contact law enforcement and our victim assistance coordinator at 866-407-4505. Also, I urge anyone who is aware of abuse by a member of the clergy or representative of the Church to contact law enforcement and our victim assistance coordinator at 866-407-4505.
I pray for all victims of abuse around the nation and around the world. I also pray that the Church will learn from past mistakes to be able to safeguard the people we serve and to be authentic witnesses of charity, justice and truth.