On March 29, the Diocese of Charleston released its list of priests with credible allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse of minors. Now, I would like to address what the diocese is doing to protect children.
We have had a policy on how to address allegations of sexual misconduct against children since 1994. That policy was updated in 2003 and again in 2012.
When the diocese receives an allegation, we direct the claimant to report to police immediately and we, too, make a report to law enforcement. We offer access to a counseling referral via our victim assistance coordinator.
The accused is immediately placed on temporary administrative leave. If the accused is a priest, he cannot function as a priest. An investigation commences by law enforcement authorities, and to the extent it can be done without interfering with a law enforcement investigation, an independent investigator is engaged by the diocese.
After the investigation is completed, the case goes before the independent Sexual Abuse Advisory Board. The board makes a recommendation to me as to the credibility of the allegation. If the allegation is deemed not credible, the person can return to ministry or his/her position. If the allegation is deemed credible, I will move to permanently remove the person from his/her ministry or position.
Moreover, our policy mandates that every employee and volunteer who has regular access to children undergo a background screen and attend a child abuse prevention education program. Additionally, employees and volunteers must sign a code of conduct governing their interaction with minors.
The Diocese of Charleston acknowledges the pain and suffering of those abused and their families. Their courage to come forward has led to the protections that are in place today.
Rev. Robert Guglielmone
Bishop of Charleston
SC needs legislation to protect aging workers against discrimination
“Age discrimination remains a significant and costly problem for workers, their families and our economy” – Victoria Lipnic, acting chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
POWADA – Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (“Age discrimination remains pervasive”): Statistics are showing that an alarming number (3 in 5) are reporting that they have witnessed and/or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, which is of grave concern especially now that statistics also shows that life expectancy has increased.
In the minds of an untold number of aging and seasoned workers these unconscionable acts and/or attitudes are extremely troubling and should no longer be downplayed and/or looked the other way. Older workers should have the same rights as every other worker to be treated fairly in the workplace based on their merits, not on stereotypes and assumptions.
Therefore, it behooves me and others to act responsibly in calling attention to this atrocity that is being heaped on the country’s most vulnerable population, who are already suffering with complex needs and utterly low incomes. If a person is by chance over the age of 50, chances are their leaving employment won’t be their decision either. S-a-a-a-d-d-d to say the least.
In closing, might I use this platform to extend an invitation to all concern to join me and an untold number of others to please appeal to their senators and/or Powers that be, to raise their voices of concerns, by addressing this piece of grave legislation and pass this Act: NOW!
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