ANCHORAGE - An audit of Catholic dioceses around the country is not good news for Anchorage - though Juneau passed all parts of it.
The Anchorage Archdiocese is among only a dozen that fell short amount 190 dioceses audited. The audit looked at the response by dioceses to the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal.
The report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says the Anchorage diocese failed to comply in two areas. The report says it did not initially report some new allegations to law enforcement, and it didn't do enough training for children, priests and volunteers to ensure that children are safe.
The directives on how to protect children come from a charter drafted in 2002 by the conference of bishops and later revised.
The audit results don't mean the Anchorage Archdiocese isn't trying hard to improve its record on protecting children, said Teresa Kettelkamp, who oversees child protection programs for the conference of bishops, and also is a retired colonel with the Illinois State Police.
The archdiocese addressed most areas. It reached out to victims; established a review board made up mainly of lay people to advise the archbishop on individual cases; had no confidential settlements of abuse cases unless the victim requested it; did criminal background checks of clergy, staff members and volunteers who have regular contact with children; and set clear standards of behavior for clergy and others.
"They had an instance where the auditors felt law enforcement should have been contacted," Kettelkamp said. "Anchorage was right up front with what came to their attention. It's not like we had to find it in a back of a drawer."
The archdiocese has since worked out a reporting procedure with Anchorage police and Alaska State Troopers, said Sister Charlotte Davenport, chancellor of the archdiocese.
The bishops' charter requires every diocese to provide training to children, youths, parents, ministers, educators, volunteers and others about how to keep children safe from sexual predators - how to be on alert for "grooming" by a priest, for instance. Ten dioceses had trouble in this area.
The Anchorage Archdiocese thought the public schools were providing information to kids on how to stay safe, but found out that not everyone was getting consistent information, Davenport said. So now it is presenting a program to Catholic children who attend public school, just as it already did for those in its Catholic schools.
The Anchorage Archdiocese also has struggled to make sure all of its priests and volunteers are trained. Some of the difficulty relates to geography; some to turnover. The archdiocese encompasses 138,985 square miles and includes the Mat-Su, the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak, Dillingham and Unalaska.
Alaska's other two Catholic dioceses, in Fairbanks and Juneau, passed all parts of the audit.
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