The Diocese of Greensburg, and dioceses across the country, has taken numerous actions to protect children from harm by anyone in church ministry.
Actions taken, in 2002, by the diocese were a continuation of the proactive commitment the Diocese of Greensburg had taken for decades prior to protect children and young people from sexual abuse by anyone connected to the Catholic Church.
In April 1985, under the leadership of the late Bishop William G. Connare, the diocese promulgated its first written policy on clergy sexual misconduct.
In September 1994, a new, more detailed policy on clergy sexual misconduct was promulgated by Bishop Anthony G. Bosco. With that policy, the diocese established a clergy sexual misconduct review board.
Immediately after the news of a child sexual abuse scandal in Boston made headlines, the diocesan policy was revised, in February 2002. As part of the revisions, the diocese established a Pastoral Care Team of diocesan representatives, and a mental health professional to offer guidance and support to families, parishes or church institutions affected by allegations of sexual misconduct by a priest.
The diocese's "zero-tolerance" policy went into effect in 2002.
Also in 2002, all diocesan priests were required to comply with Pennsylvania Acts 33 and 34—the criminal record and child abuse background checks. Before a cleric from outside the Diocese receives permission to minister in the Diocese of Greensburg, he must present a current letter of suitability for ministry from his diocesan Bishop or religious superior that documents the cleric’s good standing.
A minor protection policy was established in the diocese in September 2003, for all church employees and volunteers who are in contact with minors. That policy, in part, required all employees and volunteers to comply with Pennsylvania Acts 33 and 34. The parishes are required to keep the clearances on file.
At that time the VIRTUS program, "Protecting God's Children" was implemented. VIRTUS, developed by the National Catholic Risk Retention Group Inc., is required of all clergy, as well as employees and volunteers who have contact with children and young adults.
On Sep. 30, 2012, Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt promulgated the "Diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct" for the Diocese of Greensburg. This code is designed to be a companion to the guidelines of the National Charter and to replace both the "Minor Protection Policy" and the "Policy of the Diocese of Greensburg for Clergy Sexual Misconduct." This "Code of Pastoral Conduct" was revised and promulgated by the Diocesan Bishop on Feb. 11, 2015, to maintain conformity with requirements of the 2014 Child Protection Services Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The "Code of Pastoral Conduct" for the Diocese of Greensburg clearly sets forth standards and expectations for all those who act in the name of the diocese. This document applies to all bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay members of the Christian faithful who assist in providing pastoral care in the diocese.
Although this code cannot cover every aspect of every circumstance that one may encounter in the course of church related work, it should be seen as a concise enumeration of expected public and private behavioral standards for those working or volunteering in the parishes, schools and other entities within the Diocese of Greensburg.
The diocese has also been audited annually, since 2003, by an independent audit firm to ensure compliance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."
The diocese has been found to be in compliance with the charter in every audit.