The Diocese of St. Petersburg has launched a new website in response to the latest Catholic church’s sexual abuse scandal.
The site boasts the biblical words: “Each of us shall give an account to God.”
The local diocese established the site last month, following the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report about the molestation of more than 1,000 children by at least 300 Catholic priests and the cover-up by church officials.
On the new site, Bishop Gregory Parkes addresses the crisis in a two-minute video that seeks to assure his flock of almost half-million Catholics in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Citrus and Hernando counties that the diocese has established a firewall of safeguards.
Parkes said the new “accountability” site was set up to provide “resources and information on how we are accountable to you, the people of God.”
The website, which links to a list of “credibly accused” priests and lay persons, states how much has been paid out to victims — $6.3 million since the diocese was founded in 1968. The site also has a link encouraging prayers, in keeping with Parkes’ request that parishioners pray for all who “have been wounded by crimes of abuse” and for “the priests and bishops who have justly served with compassion and kindness.”
It also addresses safeguards such as mandatory background screening and fingerprinting for those who work with minors and vulnerable adults.
Earlier this month, Parkes posted a letter to the new site following State Attorney General Pam Bondi’s announcement that she was launching an investigation into how Florida’s Catholic dioceses have handled allegations of sexual abuse of minors. The bishop said his diocese has been transparent and pointed to the list of accused priests on full display on its website. The list names nine priests and five employees.
It is the church’s responsibility to supervise all of its clergy, priest and religious leaders. When they fail to do so, this negligent supervision can result in a child being sexually assaulted. When children are not protected from sexual predators in a church setting, this can result in a legal claim against the religious institution.
If you know of or suspect any type of sexual abuse happening in your church, school, or workplace, please report it to the proper authorities. You can also contact our Florida Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton for free guidance on what steps to take next. We are experienced at handling sexual abuse cases against various religious institutions, including the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), and Judaism.