Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

The 2004-2005 Report on the Spokane Diocese and Response to the Tragedy of Clergy Sexual Abuse of Minors

the Inland Register

(From the Nov. 10, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

September 2005

Protecting children and young people is an unswerving commitment of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane

Throughout 2004-2005, the diocese continued to make meaningful progress.

For the second consecutive year, independent auditors retained by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops determined that the Spokane diocese was in compliance with the national “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” The charter requires each Diocese to establish programs to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of minors and to implement programs to prevent abuse.

The second annual audit, albeit in compliance, noted opportunities for improvement in the documentation of Code of Conduct Training and Background checks for every “church person” and volunteer in our Diocese.

Educational programs for children and youth

The diocese has developed its own training program for Sexual Abuse Awareness. Over 8,088 children and youth have undergone training since the Charter was adopted in June 2002.

Training for employees and volunteers

The Spokane team has developed its own training program which is launched by our video, “Entrusted to Our Care.” A Power Point presentation and other parts of the curricula educate all about the victims, perpetrators, settings to be alert to, reporting requirements and ways to handle these difficult situations. The diocese has trained 13,963 employees and volunteers, including 404 educators, 61priests, 27 deacons, 3,094 volunteeers, and 2,011 parents.

All those trained have learned the most effective ways to protect children and recognize the early warning signs of possible abuse. This training is provided monthly for new employees along with annual updates available on the Diocesan Web-site.

Background checks

Background evaluations have been done on 62 priests, 36 deacons, 404 educators, 22 diocesan employees, 259 parish employees, 23 candidates for ordination, and 3,308 volunteers as part of a mandatory program for all those who have routine contact with children under the auspices of the Spokane Diocese.

Outreach to victims

The Spokane Diocese continues to reach out to potential victims to provide them the opportunity to share their experience and to get connected to the resources they need to begin the long journey of healing. Each victim is offered the opportunity to meet with Bishop Skylstad if she/he so desires.

The bishop continues to listen, to apologize on behalf of the Church and to offer spiritual and pastoral support. In addition, the diocese continues to encourage victims to reach out for assistance and information to the Victim Assistance Coordinator, Mary Butler.

Public information

The diocesan website,, is regularly updated with information on our programs and policies on this complex and important issue. Links are posted on the site to available resources, the Victim Assistance Coordinator, Safe Environment information, policies, procedures, code of conduct and bankruptcy updates. In-depth information about child abuse, A Safe Net Brochure and opportunities for annual updates are all a part of the web site.

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