Diocese to hold special mass on day new child sex abuse policies take effect

By Natalie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The Diocese of Charleston's bishop will hold a special mass on Sunday commemorating child abuse prevention month and the recent policy changes regarding child sexual abuse allegations.

The mass will be offered for the healing of child sexual abuse victims and their families and in recognition of the Diocese's newly adopted policy that addresses sexual abuse allegations, according to a press release.

"This special mass will be an opportunity for the Catholic community to pray for all victims of abuse and to remind everyone about the importance of protecting God's children," said Most Reverend Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston.

In December, the Diocese adopted new policies following the arrest of Louis 'Skip' ReVille, who has been charged with molesting several young boys. ReVille worked at Bishop England High School where he coached tennis between 2008-2010. In a press release on November 23, 2011 stated:

The Diocese is unaware of any Bishop England student who has reported being abused by Mr. ReVille while he was the tennis coach at the school.

While ReVille had no prior criminal background, shortly after his arrest Diocese officials admitted he was not subjected to a background screen and did not attend a safe environment training session.

The Diocese then adopted the new policies involving child sexual abuse allegations. The revisions will go into effect on April 15th, the day of the special mass led by Most Reverend Guglielmone.

"There are three major revisions to the policy," he said. "The first is new restrictions when communicating with youth through social media. The second is closing any ambiguity regarding background screening and safe environment training of employees and volunteers. The third gives more independence to the advisory board that assesses allegations."

The original policy addressing child abuse allegations was put in place in 1994. The revised policy made this year replaces one adopted in 2003, which requires background screenings and safe environment training for church personnel. The screening and training requirements are still in place.

The special mass which is set to take place on Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 5:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Charleston is open to the public.

*Addendum: The Diocese says they had been working on the revised policy years before Mr. Reville was arrested.


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