Months of extensive work have produced a new sexual abuse policy for Guam's Roman Catholic Church establishment in full alignment with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Archbishop Michael Byrnes made the announcement at a news conference this week.
The archbishop signed the Policy on the Protection of Children & Young People from Sexual Abuse and two other related Safe Environment documents last Wednesday. All three documents can be accessed on the archdiocese’s newly revamped website
The new policy upholds a pledge made by the archdiocese nine months ago when Archbishop Byrnes announced the archdiocese would adopt the USCCB Charter.
In separate meetings with news media and priests, religious and school administrators last February, the archbishop said that the move was absolutely necessary.
“I really ask you to support and embrace the Charter,” Archbishop Byrnes said last Feb. 6 during the meeting with archdiocesan leaders. “I’m passionate about this. I’m serious about this. It’s just the right thing to do.”
Virtus is a key part of program
Mandatory training and background checks are basic components of the archdiocese’s Safe Environment Program. Related to this, the archdiocese has joined the “Virtus” program” which is used widely, throughout United States dioceses under the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Charter.
All clergy, employees and volunteers in the archdiocese will be required to undergo o-line training by Virtus. The dioces expects to go live, on-line with the Virtus training by November 15, 2017. The training will be annual and will also include training done locally. By January 31, all persons required to undergo training should have done so.
All clergy, employees, and volunteers who work with children at our schools as well as Chancery employees will undergo mandatory background checks through the Virtus program. This will also be implemented as part of the Virtus on-line program as participants sign up and undergo the training.