Diocese revises its sexual misconduct policy

CHARLESTON—The Diocese of Charleston has revised its policy dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse of a minor by church personnel and will hold workshops to inform its personnel.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone will sign the updated document Dec. 12 and it will take effect April 15, 2012. He will also celebrate a Mass that day in commemoration of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The Office of Child Protection Services will conduct workshops across the state for diocesan personnel to familiarize them with the revision and as a refresher to the policies and procedures regarding the prevention and investigation of sexual abuse of minors.
Youth ministers, directors of religious education, safe environment coordinators, safe environment facilitators and Catholic Charity field workers will be required to go to one of the meetings. 
“I ask everyone required to attend this workshop to do so with an open heart and mind,” Bishop Guglielmone said in a Sept. 12 press release.
“These workshops are vital to continuing our mission of educating youth about the love of God in a safe and secure environment,” he said. “Protecting children from any form of abuse is a top priority for the diocese. As church personnel, it is our obligation to take every step possible to ensure our children’s safety.”
The diocese has a mandated screening of its personnel who may have regular contact with children and educates them about of the signs of child abuse.
Its policy outlines the response necessary when an allegation of child abuse has been made against diocesan personnel. 
The new document replaces a 1994 policy created by Bishop David B. Thompson and the 2002 policy adopted by Bishop Robert J. Baker. 
“The Diocese of Charleston has been on the cutting edge of instituting policies which address this terrible reality in society,” according to Father Titus Fulcher, director of the Office of Child Protection Services.
Piedmont Deanery — Oct. 4 from 9-11 a.m. at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors; Midlands Deanery — Oct. 4 from 2–4 p.m. at Our Lady of the Hills in Columbia;
Lowcountry Deanery — Oct. 12 from 9–11 a.m. at St. Francis by the Sea on Hilton Head Island;
Coastal Deanery — Oct. 12 from 3–5 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston;
Pee Dee Deanery — Oct. 21 from 10 a.m.  to noon at Precious Blood of Christ on Pawleys Island.
Workshops for other groups including priests, deacons, seminarians, principals and chancery staff will be held at a future date.

For more information, contact the Office of Child Protection Services at (843) 853-2130 ext. 206 or 216, or frtitus@