Once again, the Diocese of Trenton has been recognized for the implementation of safe practices in its care of children and young people.

In a Nov. 17 letter addressed to Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., from StoneBridge Business Partners, the auditing firm declared the Diocese compliant “with all audited articles within the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ for the 2019/2020 audit period… based upon inquiry, observation and the review of specifically requested documentation.”

The “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” was developed by the Committee on Sexual Abuse of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and was approved by the full body of U.S. Catholic Bishops at its June, 2002 General Meeting. The document acknowledged the crisis of child abuse within the Church, and pledged a stricter, more transparent set of steps to prevent and report abuse while creating and maintaining a safe environment for children and vulnerable young people.

Mary Liz Ivins, the diocesan assistant victim assistance coordinator, explained, “There is an annual written audit of activity that is submitted each August, [and] an in-person audit is required once every three years.” 

The audit period was from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020; StoneBridge’s on-site audit was held in the Chancery in Lawrenceville from Sept. 8 through 10.

In addition to reviewing the written audit documents compiled by the Diocese, auditors conducted 13 interview meetings with a total of 24 people, some in-person and others virtual. Those interviewed by StoneBridge included diocesan officers; parish clergy and personnel; school administrators and principals, as well as diocesan counsel and review members.

According to their website, StoneBridge Business Partners specializes in investigatory and analytical business consulting. The Rochester, N.Y., based company has been auditing dioceses and eparchies for the USCCB since 2011. Data from the audit is gathered and compiled by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, based at Georgetown University in Washington.