News & Press

Archdiocese of Boston Passes 2008 Audit of its Compliance with the USCCB ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’

Documents referenced

  1. Response to Children First: A Two-Year Assessment of the Archdiocese’s Implementation of the Policies and Procedures for the Protection of Children 
  2. Gavin Group letter 
  3. Non-compliant Parish Listing 

(Braintree, Mass.) March 13, 2009…The Archdiocese of Boston today announced that The Gavin Group, an independent firm retained by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has completed a full, independent audit of the Archdiocese’s compliance with the provisions of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Charter), the child protection policy adopted by the USCCB in 2002. As part of the audit, The Gavin Group also visited fifty (50) parishes of the Archdiocese and conducted on-site audits in these locations. Based on the findings of both the Archdiocesan-level and parish-level audits, the Archdiocese was found to be in compliance with the Charter.

The audit evaluated the Archdiocese’s efforts to satisfy requirements relating to reporting and responding to allegations of sexual abuse, promoting healing and reconciliation with survivors and those harmed by clergy sexual abuse, ensuring that Archdiocesan and religious priests, deacons, educators, volunteers and other personnel are properly screened through CORI background evaluations and conducting safe environment training for children and adults who work with children. The parish-level audits tested the extent to which the requirements of the Charter, as reflected in the Archdiocese’s policies, are being implemented.

As a result of the parish-level audit, The Gavin Group determined that four (4) parishes of the fifty (50) visited had not yet implemented or fully implemented a safe environment training program for children in their religious education programs. The Archdiocese, through its Office of Child Advocacy, Implementation and Oversight, is working closely with the parishes and Regional Bishops to bring these parishes into compliance.

“Our commitment to protect children remains steadfast,” stated Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley. “While I am pleased with the progress we have made, we must be ever vigilant in our efforts in order to assure the safety of our children and to restore the confidence of the faithful in the Church.”

It is expected that the USCCB will release its 2008 audit results this week. Additional information about the audit can be found at www.usccb.org. The Gavin Group’s report and a listing of parishes visited by the auditor and found not to be in full compliance in their religious education program are available by at:

Gavin Group letter 
Parish Listing 

The Archdiocese also published its response to Children First: A Two-Year Assessment of the Archdiocese’s Implementation of the Policies and Procedures for the Protection of Children. In November 2004, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley initiated a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the Archdiocese of Boston’s response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. In keeping with the Policies and Procedures for the Protection of Children (“Policies and Procedures”) promulgated by the Archdiocese in 2003, the Cardinal asked the Archdiocese’s Implementation and Oversight Advisory Committee (IOAC) to work with members of the Review Board to conduct a two-year assessment of the Archdiocese’s compliance with its Policies and Procedures. The IOAC and Review Board members who participated in this multi-disciplinary review process comprised an ecumenical committee, which included psychologists, social workers, educators, therapists, lawyers, parents, judges and pastoral ministers.

In a letter to IOAC Chairperson, M.J. Doherty, Cardinal O’Malley formally responded to the recommendations set forth in Children First and outlined the status of Archdiocesan implementation in three major areas of concern: Pastoral Outreach and Healing, Safe Environment Programs, and Changes in Systems and Practices. A copy of the response is available by clicking here.

Speaking on behalf of the IOAC, Doherty, who is special assistant to the president of Regis College, commented, “As we receive the Cardinal’s official response, we are pleased that the concerns and recommendations we put forth have received Cardinal Seán’s careful consideration and that our analysis and input have already helped to shape important policy improvements and organizational change. We welcome the Cardinal’s sustained commitment to the safety of children. The work the Archdiocese has done, and will continue to do, not only serves to protect children in the local Church, but also contributes to addressing the terrible and pervasive problem of child abuse in our society."

“I am extremely grateful for the diligent work of the IOAC and that of the Review Board in preparing this Report,” Cardinal O’Malley stated. “The findings and recommendations set forth in Children First have provided the Archdiocese with a clear understanding of what has been accomplished already, as well as guidance on how to improve upon our ongoing efforts to provide safe environments for children and to support survivors and all people who have suffered as a result of clergy sexual abuse.”