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Screening Review Committee to help oversee implementation of policy for background checks


CHARLESTON — In conjunction with the implementation of a new screening policy for church personnel, the Bishop David B. Thompson has appointed a committee to review all questionable or negative screens in light of the specific work or ministry for which an individual is applying. This group will help determine the suitability of the candidate for the position.

Upon receipt of the reports of the background investigations the diocesan coordinator will review and do one of the following. If the background screen comes back clear, the coordinator will notify in writing the pastor, principal, or supervisor when there is no indication of a problem or concern which could impact negatively on the individual’s service in the diocese.

However, if a concern is raised by the background check, all negative or questionable reports are referred to the Screening Review Committee.

The judgment of the Screening Review Committee on the eligibility of the individual will be final. In addition, the pastor/principal/supervisor will be notified in writing of the decision of the committee.

Members of the Screening Review Committee are appointed by the Bishop. The committee is comprised of five to seven members, including the director of human resources and the coordinator for matters related to sexual misconduct and abuse.

The initial members of the Screening Review Committee will be asked to serve two years in order to provide consistency. Following that term, members will be selected by a means which will allow them to rotate off, while new members are added. The chairperson of the committee will be someone chosen by the committee other than the coordinator or the director of human resources.

A quarterly summary of the reviews and decisions by the Screening Review Committee will be prepared with nonidentifiable information and submitted to the Bishop and vicar general to ensure fairness and consistency.

All information from the background screens will remain confidential and will be filed in the office of the diocesan coordinator. The reports will not be distributed to parishes, schools, diocesan offices or other institutions; only a written statement of eligibility for employment will be sent.

The diocese may not use the results of the screens for any purpose other than determining whether that individual is eligible for the desired position.

This policy shall be reviewed at least every two years by the Screening Review Committee, said Sister Susan Schorsten, assistant to the vicar general and committee member.

In August: Schedule of the second round of educational sessions for child abuse awareness and new screening policy.

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