We are committed to safety, justice and healing to protect our vulnerable populations. 

The Diocese of Orlando is required by the United States Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to follow certain guidelines with regard to Safe Environment Training. As are all other archdioceses and dioceses, we are required to undergo regular audits by the USCCB to be sure that we are in compliance with those regulations.

All church personnel and volunteers working with children and vulnerable populations must complete Safe Environment Training in addition to a background/fingerprint clearance. In an effort to ensure the safety of those persons under the care of the Diocese, all Church Personnel and volunteers, ages 15 and older, will be required to submit a completed Criminal Background Check Form as well as a complete set of fingerprints so as to facilitate a criminal background investigation.

Compliance Letter

Standards of Conduct

From the Diocese of Orlando Safe Environment Policy: For purposes of this policy only, church personnel includes all individuals who minister, work, or volunteer in any school, parish, or ministry of the Diocese whose compliance with this policy is sought. The term has no legal meaning or significance outside the scope of this policy and is not indicative of any employment or agency relationship.

What are Standards of Conduct?

Any form of sexual misconduct is sinful in the eyes of God.  Certain forms of sexual misconduct can be criminal as well.

Church Personnel who engage in any form of sexual misconduct are violating the ministerial relationship, misusing their authority and power, and taking advantage of the vulnerability of those they meet.  In these circumstances, there is an absence of meaningful consent to any sexual activity, even if the person is an adult.  It is the responsibility of Church Personnel to maintain appropriate emotional and sexual boundaries with those with whom they work or serve.

Standards of Conduct for Church Personnel

Inappropriate Conduct

While it is not possible to identify every form of inappropriate conduct that violates a person’s boundaries, based on the foregoing, it is inappropriate for Church Personnel to:

  • perform any type of sexual act with anyone.

  • give inappropriate gifts (such as lingerie).

  • threaten or cause personal harm or injury.

  • threaten or cause damage to property.

  • smoke or encourage smoking on any diocesan property, school or entity.

  • observe someone undressing while he/she is changing clothes at school, a sporting event or retreat other than necessary supervision in a locker room or approved changing area.

  • denigrate or verbally abuse any person.

  • provide medical advice, or medical procedure unless properly authorized or are required by law.

  • administer drugs, including over-the-counter medication, in the absence of express written permission.

  • provide massages or other physical therapy.

  • examine the genitalia of any person, for any reason.

  • touch an individual inappropriately.

  • use the internet for pornographic* access.

  • use pornography or participate in any acts of pornography involving adults or minors.

  • show sexually suggestive objects or pornography.

  • tell tales of sexual exploits, experiences or conflicts.

  • make sexual propositions.

  • use sexual vulgar language.

  • offer a prolonged hug when a brief hug is customary behavior.

  • kiss on the lips.

  • invite children and young people to their home unsupervised or for overnight stays, even with the permission of the parent or guardian.

  • offer children and young people rides to their homes, even with the permission of the parent or guardian.

*According to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the federal legal age for defining child pornography includes pornographic images of minors under the age of eighteen.

We recognize some of these restrictions would not apply due to marital status.

Behaviors that May Indicate Poor Boundaries

    • Overinvestment in children.

    • Over-identification with children.

    • Failure to set appropriate limits with children.

    • Excess animation around children.

    • Indications of anxiety regarding adult sexuality.

    • Overly anxious in interviews or under supervision.

    • Success in getting around the rules.

    • Lack of meaningful, in-depth relationships with adult peers.

    • No sense of responsibility for one’s actions.

    • Keeping secrets with children.

    • Allowing special relationships with individuals.

    • Allowing individuals to break some rules.

    • Gifts to individual young person.

Diocesan Safe Environment Policy

Diocesan Review Board Policy

The Diocesan Review Board acts in a confidential, consultative manner to advise the Bishop in
any matter relating to alleged sexual abuse of a Vulnerable Person involving clergy or religious
women. Any allegation of sexual abuse against a Vulnerable Person within the Diocese of
Orlando may be reviewed by the Diocesan Review Board.

The Board advises the Bishop:
1. In the discharge of his duties related to allegations of sexual abuse of a Vulnerable Person;
2. Whether diocesan policy and procedures were followed in the case of an abuse.
Creating and Maintaining a Safe Environment
3. In the development of policy and practices related to the provision of a safe environment;
and
4. In the development of policy and practices related to response to allegations of abuse of a
Vulnerable Person.

The Board meets as needed. The term limit for a Diocesan Review Board member is five years.
Board members do not receive compensation.

This Board and the Board Chair are appointed by the Bishop. The Board consists of at least five
individuals not employed by the Diocese including a:
• Parent
• Survivor or relative of a survivor of sexual abuse
• Representative of law enforcement
• Mental health professional whose practice focuses on victims and/or perpetrators of
childhood sexual abuse and recovery
• Priest who serves as Pastor in the Diocese of Orlando

Members of the Diocesan Review Board should be individuals of outstanding integrity and good
judgment in full communion with the Church.

Additional participants may be invited to attend Diocesan Review board meetings to act as
resources for the Board. These participants can include, among others, the Chancellor for
Administration, the Senior Director of Communications, the Diocesan Attorney, and the Senior
Director of Human Resources.

Policies and Forms
How to Report Allegations

  • When an allegation of child sexual abuse is received:

    • Florida Reporting Law is followed. Call the toll-free abuse registry hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or 1-800-342-9152 immediately
    • The Victim Assistance Coordinator is notified, 407-246-7179.
    • The individual is removed from his/her position pending a law enforcement and internal investigation.
    • The Victim Assistance Coordinator commences an investigation as quickly as possible, in coordination with the Senior Director of Human Resources, but no later than within one week of the notification of the allegation, and consults with members of the Diocesan Review Board, the Diocesan Attorney, or others as needed.
    • Recommendations of the Diocesan Review Board are presented to the Bishop.

The Diocesan Review Board acts in a confidential, consultative manner to advise the Bishop in any matter relating to alleged sexual abuse of a Vulnerable Person involving clergy or religious women. This Board and Board Chair are appointed by the Bishop. The Board consists of at least five individuals not employed by the Diocese. The current board has one priest serving. The others are lay members. At the request of the Diocesan Review Board members, their names and credentials are not posted. We honor their request for privacy. 

Assistance to Victim

The primary focus of pastoral concern and support is the victim and family. After a report is made
to the Diocesan Review Board, appropriate measures are taken to assist in their healing process.
Contact with the victim is restricted to the Bishop, the Victim Assistance Coordinator and any
other person designated by the Bishop, so as to avoid confusion as to intent or care. Every effort
will be made to keep the family of any victim who is still a minor properly informed. Counseling will
be offered to the victim and family as appropriate and necessary.

Rights of the Accused

As appropriate, the Diocese will take some or all of the following actions with respect to the
alleged perpetrator.
• Individual will be informed of the allegations by the Bishop or his representative and will be
given an opportunity to respond to the allegation.
• Pastoral support and spiritual guidance will be offered.
• Individual will be advised of his/her right to seek legal and canonical counsel.
• Individual will be removed from contact with Vulnerable Persons and placed on
administrative leave pending the investigation and/or psychological evaluation.
• Individual may be sent for a psychological evaluation.
• Individual may be offered whatever residential or outpatient care is recommended.
• In the case of a religious order person, the allegation will be reported to the major superior
of the religious order.

Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting System

This service has been created to gather and relay reports of sexual misconduct involving bishops of the United States, and reports of their intentional interference in a sexual abuse investigation. If you wish to report any other kind of misconduct by a bishop, please contact your local diocese or eparchy instead.

USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People

Annual Report

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released the 2022 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

The secretariat has the following areas of responsibility: provide support and assistance to the National Review Board and Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, conduct diocesan audits, and exist as a resource for dioceses/parishes.

The committee provides the bishops of the United States with comprehensive planning and recommendations concerning child and youth protection, in coordination with the National Review Board, as dictated by the Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People.

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures originally established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. It was revised in 2005, 2011, and 2018.

Spanish Translation of Charter: Estatuto para la Protección de Niños y Jóvenes

The Charter directs action in all the following matters:

  • Creating a safe environment for children and young people;
  • Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors;
  • Making prompt and effective response to allegations;
  • Cooperating with civil authorities;
  • Disciplining offenders;
  • Providing for means of accountability for the future to ensure the problem continues to be effectively dealt with through the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board.
National Review Board

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops established the National Review Board during their meeting in June of 2002. The functions of the Board were revised slightly and reconfirmed in June of 2004. The purpose of the National Review Board is to collaborate with the USCCB in preventing the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the Church.

Functions of the National Review Board

  • Advise the Committee for the Protection of  Children and Young People on matters of child and youth protection, specifically on policies and practices.
  • Review the work of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and make recommendations to its Director, assisting the Director in the development of resources for dioceses and eparchies
  • Review, prior to publication, the annual report of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection on implementing and maintaining the standards of the Charter and any recommendations that emerge from the report, providing its own assessment regarding its approval and publication to the Conference President
  • Advise the Conference President on future members of the Board and future Directors of the Office;
  • Advise the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People on the annual audit process prescribed in the Charter, including methods, scope, and personnel
  • Alert and inform the appropriate parties of concerns that emerge from the above responsibilities that may run counter to the spirit of the Charter
  • Consult as requested with the Conference President, the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Administrative Committee, and other USCCB or relevant Church entities on matters relating to the protection of children and young people from sexual abuse
  • Make appropriate recommendations to prevent sexual abuse of minors

Diocesan Priests

Removal of Church Personnel from Ministry

Removal of Church Personnel from Ministry List

Resources

Instructions for Vetting Visiting Priests

Instructions for Vetting Visiting Priests


Contact Us

Ida Valdez
Safe Environment Director
Safe Environment
407-246-4822
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Veronika Ortega
Administrative Assistant
Safe Environment
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Victim Assistance Coordinator
Safe Environment
407-256-7179
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Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting System
This service has been created to gather and relay reports of sexual misconduct involving bishops of the United States, and reports of their intentional interference in a sexual abuse investigation. If you wish to report any other kind of misconduct by a bishop, please contact your local diocese or eparchy instead.
Make a report online or call 1-800-276-1562.

Statewide (DCF) Abuse Hotline
1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)