OKC Archdiocese Launches New Online Training Program

Wednesday, July 8th 2020, 5:42 pm
By: Brian Mueller

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has had a training program in place since 2002, but the archdiocese said it was time for a new one.

"We know a lot more than we used to, five, six years ago. We didn't know what grooming was, that was kind of a new term," said OKC Archdiocese Director of Communications Diane Clay.

So no time like the present to launch a modern program. It's all online and mandatory for any clergy, staff member or volunteer working with minors.

"It helps priests and deacons and church staff and volunteers and teachers in our catholic schools all recognize signs of abuse," Clay said.

The program also covers how to identify signs of human trafficking.

It was October 2019 that the archdiocese retained a law firm to conduct an independent investigation of their past handling of clergy abuse allegations.

The report substantiated sexual abuse claims relating to 11 priests from 1960 through 2018 with the Oklahoma City archdiocese.

Clay said they wanted a new program before the report, and the new program isn't a direct response to that report but they are using the lessons they learned from it in the program.

"There were a lot of things and similarities that we noticed about how children were targeted and we can incorporate that, not only to train volunteers, but we're parents as well, so that helps us to be able to looks for those red flags when we go out in the community, whatever our children are involved in," Clay said.

With so many people already working within the archdiocese, Clay said they'll have a few months to complete the training program.