The following statement is from the California Catholic Conference:
“We have not had more than a brief opportunity to review the lawsuit filed this morning by Mr. Anderson, but two things stand out. First, it appears that all of the information provided in the news conference this morning came from public sources and has been available for years; and, second, that none of the information provided describes the positive steps taken by California dioceses over the past 15 years to protect children and young people from abuse.
“In 2003, all dioceses in California began implementing the reforms called out in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People approved by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops the year before.
“Every diocese in California has instituted fingerprinting and background checks for priests, staff and any volunteers working around children and young people. All of them offer Safe Environment programs to train students and staff in identifying and preventing abuse. Every diocese has adopted a “zero tolerance” standard to make sure no one with a credible accusation of abusing children is allowed to function as a priest and all dioceses have an Independent Review Board, primarily consisting of lay persons, to advise bishops on whether or not an accused priest would be allowed to return to ministry.
“Over the course of the last 15 years, millions of students in Catholic Schools and religious education have gone through training, along with hundreds of thousands of staff and volunteers. Tens of thousands more have been fingerprinted and background checked.
“These measures have been effective. Allegations of abuse have been rare since 2003, responded to and uniformly reported, but we know we can never be complacent. The twelve dioceses of California will never waver in their commitment to protect young people.”