Revision to the Policy for the Protection of Children

Promulgated by the Diocese of Erie
Effective March 15, 2021


First and foremost, the Diocese of Erie apologizes for the abuse of children caused by priests or other employees.  Such conduct is reprehensible.  Any efforts to conceal such conduct are also reprehensible. The Diocese of Erie recognizes its responsibility and is committed to regaining the trust of not only its parishioners but of all people.

We will shine light on the abuses of the past and be transparent in our decisions today.  We will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure that justice is done.  We want to specifically acknowledge and apologize to the courageous and resilient survivors and witnesses whose voices previously were unheard or silenced.  We recognize the Pennsylvania State Attorney General, who — working with a statewide grand jury — gave these people a voice. They are to be commended for their courage.  

Apologies, however, are not enough. The Diocese of Erie has been developing policies, procedures, and training programs since the 1980s specifically designed to protect the most vulnerable people in our society from people that would do them harm.  This web page is part of a larger program to ensure such protection.  The Diocese of Erie is working with law enforcement, medical experts, survivor support groups, compliance experts, and academia to ensure that its efforts are of the highest quality when it comes to maintaining a safe environment for our children and other vulnerable populations.

The policy includes:
  • An expansion of the scope of the abuse sought to be prevented to include sexual, physical, emotional, and neglectful abuse;
  • Inclusion of numerous detailed examples and red flags in both our policy and training materials to educate people on how to recognize abuse or unsafe situations;
  • Reliance by the diocese on independent, professional investigators and lawyers to ensure the best possibility of arriving at the truth concerning each allegation, while respecting the rights of all and offering full cooperation with law enforcement; and
  • The creation of a transparent and centralized system to encourage abuse reporting, screen personnel, document investigative findings, and inform the community about abuse-related employment or volunteerism decisions.
On this last point, we created this website to publicize the names of individuals who were previously employed by (or volunteered for or considered by) the Diocese of Erie or any related agency, but are now are prohibited from such employment (or volunteerism).  Any employer, whether public or private — as well as anyone supervising volunteers — may contact the Diocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY) to request a “clearance” from the OPCY for a job applicant or volunteer in terms of child protection.  The granting of such a clearance would indicate that the OPCY knows of no record that gives reason to exercise caution regarding that individual around children.

The Diocese of Erie itself — as well as any school, parish, or agency within the diocese — MUST receive such a clearance before hiring an employee or accepting any volunteer for a position that brings that individual into contact with children (or secondary-school students or vulnerable adults).