Safe Environment/Child Protection

In November 2002 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, signaling the bishops’ commitment to reach out to victims of abuse; take action immediately and decisively when allegations arise; set clear standards of behavior for clergy and lay personnel; and to put in place policies, review boards, and victims’ assistance coordinators to respond to incidents.

The Diocese of Knoxville is in full compliance with the Charter, as independent audits have repeatedly shown.

Download the diocese’s policy on sexual misconduct here. Download a copy of Bishop Richard F. Stika’s pastoral letter on child protection in English or Spanish.

One of the key strategies for safeguarding the vulnerable is establishing “safe environment” programs to help ensure that church and school settings and functions are indeed wholesome and safe for people of all ages.

The Diocese of Knoxville’s program is ongoing, with child-protection seminars offered regularly throughout East Tennessee. To register, visit the Virtus website and click Registration in the left frame. The three-hour seminars, titled “Protecting God’s Children,” are required for parish and school employees and regular volunteers in contact with children or vulnerable adults and recommended for parents and grandparents. The training is offered free of charge.

UPDATED 9/28/2011: Download the age-appropriate curriculum that will be used with children in Catholic schools and religious-education programs:

Please download the new compliance roster here.

Download the curriculum in Spanish:

Please download the new compliance roster in Spanish here.

Download a draft letter to parents explaining their options.
For a draft letter to parents in Spanish, click here.

Downloadable PDFs

Diocese of Knoxville procedure for reporting sexual abuse

Anyone who has actual knowledge of or who has reasonable cause to suspect an incident of sexual abuse should report such information to the appropriate civil authorities first, then the diocesan victims’ assistance coordinator, Marla Lenihan, 865-482-1388.

Procedimiento de la Diócesis de Knoxville para reportar casos de abuso sexual

Cualquier persona que tenga conocimiento real o que tenga una causa razonable para sospechar de un incidente de abuso sexual debe reportar primero tal información a las autoridades civiles apropiadas, y a la coordinadora diocesana de asistencia a las víctimas Marla Lenihan al 865-482-1388. Para asistencia en español durante el contacto inicial, favor de comunicarse con Blanca Primm, llamando al 865-637-4769. Toda información recibida será tratada con la más absoluta confidencialidad.