Safe Environment

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Safe and Sacred Safe Environment Training
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Report sexual abuse of a minor by a priest, deacon, church/school volunteer or church/school employee by calling the Victim Assistance Hotline Number – 559-488-7400. Reports are held in strictest confidence.

Reporte abuso sexual en contra de un menor por parte de un sacerdote, diácono, empleado o voluntario de una iglesia o escuela llamando al Número Directo de la Asistencia para Víctimas – 559-488-7400. Los reportes se tratan con estricta confidencia.

Contact Us

Safe Environment Coordinator  Bianca Blanchette

  • (559) 493-2882
  • (559) 488-7497

Victim Assistance Coordinator  Cheryl Sarkisian
  • (559) 488-7409
  • (559) 488-7467

News

La Diócesis De Fresno Estudia El Impacto Del Escandalo De Abuso Actual

December 7, 2018

Evalua La Necesidad De Más Acciones Para Asegurar La Transparencia Y La Responsabilidad

En un mensaje pastoral del Reverendísimo Armando X. Ochoa publicado el 16 de agosto de 2018, el Obispo declaró:

“Me mantengo firme en mi convicción que todo el clero debe vivir su vida como un ministro ordenado con integridad. Como Obispo, he aceptado completamente mi responsabilidad de tratar cualquier asunto serio que a sabiendas ponga en riesgo a cualquiera de las almas confiadas a mi cuidado pastoral y continuaré haciéndolo. Una de mis mayores preocupaciones es la cultura del secreto que existe en muchas diócesis entre el clero, e incluso entre algunas personas laicas que sienten que necesitan proteger la Iglesia a todo costo. Esto debe ser abordado con más eficacia. Permanecer en silencio y abandonar a las víctimas cuando más necesitan a su comunidad de fe es indefensible”.

Cada diócesis en los Estados Unidos sigue respondiendo a la crisis actual de abuso sexual a su manera. Hasta la fecha, no se ha formulado una respuesta estandarizada. En la Diócesis de Fresno, el primer enfoque fue el cumplimiento del Estatuto para la Protección de Niños y Jóvenes de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos (USCCB, por sus siglas en inglés). La conformidad se verificó mediante una auditoría independiente realizada por Stonebridge para el año fiscal de julio de 2017 al 30 de junio de 2018. La carta de conformidad se publicó el 24 de octubre de 2018. El alcance de la auditoría incluyó: la aprobación de antecedentes y de huellas dactilares de TODOS los clérigos y religiosos, empleados y voluntarios que sirven donde hay menores presentes. También se audita la capacitación de Ambiente Seguro que se renueva en un ciclo de tres años, al igual que la adhesión de la administración a los procedimientos de respuesta cuando se recibe una denuncia de abuso sexual de un menor.

En la Diócesis de Fresno, se evalúa la autenticidad de una denuncia para que la diócesis tenga suficiente información para responder con prontitud y de una manera sensible a las circunstancias y necesidades específicas de una posible víctima y su familia, si fuera pertinente. Siempre se hace un informe a la policía donde ocurrió el supuesto abuso, independientemente de cuántos años hayan pasado. Si el abuso tuvo lugar en otra diócesis, la Diócesis de Fresno ayudará mediante la comunicación con la otra diócesis y brindando apoyo pastoral local. Dado que el alcance de la actual crisis de abuso sexual se remonta a varias décadas en las que se han realizado investigaciones, la Mesa Directiva de Revisión Independiente (Independent Review Board -IRB) de la Diócesis de Fresno, ha estado en diálogo con el Obispo Ochoa para ayudar a determinar si se debe realizar otra revisión exhaustiva de todos los archivos para asegúrese de que el Obispo actual esté al tanto de todas las acusaciones que preceden a su instalación en esta diócesis en particular. Actualmente se están explorando recursos para completar legalmente y con competencia esta tarea dentro de la supervisión del IRB.

Además de reconocer las necesidades genuinas de aquellos que han sido víctimas de abuso sexual siendo un menor, los fieles y el público en general, las necesidades de los sacerdotes que sirven fielmente en la diócesis también deben ser consideradas. Esto no minimiza de ninguna manera el enfoque en las víctimas. Por el contrario, proporciona el apoyo de bienestar que la mayoría de los sacerdotes que viven su vocación devotamente necesitan para mantenerse sanos y continuar con el cuidado pastoral de todos, incluyendo aquellos que tienen una gran necesidad de sanación dentro de un ambiente parroquial de apoyo.

En lo que respecta a la divulgación pública de los nombres de los sacerdotes acusados, la Diócesis de Fresno notifica a todas las comunidades parroquiales donde un sacerdote acusado ha prestado servicio, y le pide a cualquier persona que presente información relevante para ayudar en la investigación que está realizando la policía y/o la diócesis. Más allá de esto, la diócesis continúa estudiando cómo otras diócesis están respondiendo a la demanda de una publicación en línea de todos los sacerdotes acusados, pasados y presentes; además de llegar a una mejor comprensión de cualquier ramificación legal, si no se ha seguido el debido proceso legal de acuerdo con los derechos constitucionales. El Obispo Ochoa continuará consultando una variedad de opiniones profesionales sobre este asunto, tanto dentro de la comunidad de fe como de fuentes externas para garantizar la objetividad. Se entiende que este es un asunto muy delicado. Es esencial que los criterios, el contenido y la terminología precisa estén bien establecidos para garantizar que las acciones posteriores alcancen su objetivo previsto: para sanar, proteger y restaurar la confianza.

El Obispo Ochoa comienza cada reunión con una oración por las víctimas y su sanación, y ha pedido a cada parroquia que recuerde a las víctimas en las Oraciones de los Fieles en cada misa para mantenerlas siempre ante nosotros. Él entiende que la necesidad de sanación es grande y que el proceso toma toda la vida.
Actualizaciones adicionales serán publicadas por la Diócesis de Fresno a medida que avanzamos.

 Public-Update-of-Response-to-Sexual-Abuse-Scandal-120718-English-Spanish.pdf


Diocese Of Fresno Surveys Impact Of Current Abuse Scandal

Assesses Need For Further Actions To Ensure Transparency And Accountability

In a pastoral message from The Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa released on August 16, 2018 the Bishop stated:

“I stand firm in my conviction that all clergy must live out their lives as ordained ministers with integrity. As bishop, I have fully accepted my responsibility to address any serious matter that knowingly puts at risk any of the souls entrusted to my pastoral care and will continue to do so. One of my greatest concerns is the culture of secrecy that exists in many dioceses among the clergy and even among some of the laity who feel that they need to protect the Church at all costs. This must be addressed more effectively. To remain silent and abandon victims when they need their faith community the most is indefensible.”

Each diocese in the United States continues to respond to the current sexual abuse crisis in its own way. To date, there has been no standardized response formulated. In the Diocese of Fresno, the first focus was on diocesan compliancy to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Compliancy was verified through an independent audit conducted by Stonebridge for the fiscal year July 2017 – June 30, 2018. The compliancy letter was published on October 24, 2018. The purview of the audit included: background and fingerprint clearance of ALL clergy and religious, and employees and volunteers who serve where minors are present. Safe Environment training which is renewed on a three year cycle is also audited, along with administration’s adherence to response procedures when an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is received.

In the Diocese of Fresno, the authenticity of an allegation is assessed so that the Diocese has enough information to respond promptly with sensitivity to the specific circumstances and needs of a potential victim and his/her family, if applicable. A report is always made to law enforcement where the alleged abuse took place, regardless of how many years have passed. If the abuse took place in another diocese, the Diocese of Fresno will assist by bridging communications to the other diocese while offering local pastoral support.

Since the scope of the current sexual abuse crisis dates back several decades where investigations have taken place, the Diocesan Review Board (DRB) has been in dialogue with Bishop Ochoa to help determine if another thorough review of all files should be conducted to ensure that the current Bishop is aware of all allegations that predates his installation in this particular diocese. Resources to legally and competently complete this task within the oversight of the DRB are currently being explored.

In addition to recognizing the genuine needs of those who have been victims of sexual abuse as a minor, the faithful and general public, the needs of the priests faithfully serving in the Diocese must also be considered. This does not in any way minimize the focus on victims. On the contrary, it provides the wellness support that the majority of priests who are living their vocation devoutly need in order to stay healthy and continue their pastoral care to all, including those who are in great need of healing within a supportive parish environment.

In regards to the public release of names of accused priests, the Diocese of Fresno notifies all parish communities where an accused priest has served, asking anyone with relevant information to come forward to assist the investigation being conducted by law enforcement and/or the Diocese. Beyond this, the Diocese continues to survey how other dioceses are responding to the demand for an online posting of all accused priests, past and present, in addition to coming to a better understanding of any legal ramifications if due process of law has not been pursued according to Constitutional Rights. Bishop Ochoa will continue to engage a variety of professional opinions on this matter, both within the faith community and outside sources to ensure objectivity. It is understood that this is a very sensitive matter. It is essential that criterion, content and accurate terminology are well established to ensure that any further actions achieve their intended goal – to heal, protect and restore trust.

Bishop Ochoa begins every gathering with a prayer for victims and their healing, and has asked every parish to remember victims in the Prayers of the Faithful at every Mass to keep them ever before us. He understands that the need for healing is great and the process takes a lifetime. Additional updates will be published by the Diocese of Fresno as we move forward.

Public-Update-of-Response-to-Sexual-Abuse-Scandal-120718-English-Spanish.pdf


Diocese of Fresno Compliant with Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

October 5, 2018

Based on the results of our recently performed on-site audit of the Diocese of Fresno, the Diocese has been found compliant with all audited Articles within the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for the 2017/2018 audit period.

Letter from Stonebridge Business Partners (auditor) to Bishop Armando X. Ochoa

Every year, the Diocese of Fresno is responsible for providing an accounting of how well we follow the requirements which are outlined in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The audit entails months of gathering reports from all the parishes/missions and Catholic Schools throughout the Diocese on the number of clergy ministering within our boundaries as well as the number of employees who work for the diocese, and then lastly the number of volunteers who had unsupervised contact with minors. Each of these individuals must meet the requirements of fingerprint clearance, proof of receiving Safe Environment training regarding all forms of child abuse, internet safety, and bullying, and have a signed Code of Conduct on file. Our clergy and seminarians are all fingerprint cleared through federal and state agencies, have fulfilled the requirement to refresh their knowledge of child abuse and diocesan policies on what constitutes a safe environment for young people, and have committed to the Diocesan Code of Conduct.

A summary of the information gathered is as follows: 36,823 children received training and education to increase their personal safety skills, 1,361 diocesan employees and 8,698 adult volunteers received Safe Environment training on the topics of child abuse, bullying, and cyber safety. This knowledge will help them increase the safety and well being of a child or young person.

While the Diocesan Safe Environment Office provides guidance and assistance to the parishes and Catholic schools in maintaining safe environments, the continued success experienced by the diocese in this endeavor is mainly the result of the dedicated efforts of the numerous pastors, principals, educators, employees, and volunteers throughout the diocese. We sincerely appreciate your devoted commitment to keeping our children safe.

As always, the goal of the Safe Environment office at the Diocese of Fresno is to keep children safe and protected. The Diocese of Fresno is committed to ensuring that when your child is in our care in parish programs or in Catholic Education that their safety is of utmost importance and priority. To know more about what your parish and school is doing and how you can be part of creating and maintaining a safe environment, contact the Diocese of Fresno Office of Safe Environment at 559-493-2882 or visit us online at www.dioceseoffresno.org

Safe Environment Coordinator  Bianca Blanchette
  • (559) 493-2882
  • (559) 488-7497

Diocese of Fresno Victim Assistance Hotline

559-488-7400

To report an incident of child abuse that occurred past or present within the Church by a member of the clergy, religious order, employee or volunteer, contact your City or County Law Enforcement agency where the alleged abuse occurred. Then, contact the Diocese of Fresno Victim Assistance Coordinator at the number listed above.