On Thursday, Archbishop Michael Byrnes spoke before members of the Rotary Club of Guam to discuss how the Catholic church is addressing issues concerning the clergy sexual abuse cases.
Concerning the challenges of dealing with sexual abuse within the Catholic church, Archbishop Byrnes spoke about the VIRTUS program, an online training program administered to clergy members as well as church volunteers and employees to help them recognize risky behaviors and report them to appropriate authorities.
Byrnes says that the purpose of this program is to create safe environments within the parishes and the schools on the island.
“People who have gone through the VIRTUS program recognize the signs of any kind of abuse of children. To understand whether or not they’re a mandatory reporter and in any case, to be alert but also be aware of what they need to do if somebody confides that they’ve been abused,” Byrnes said.
According to the Archbishop, the archdiocese is expected to mediate its first round of sexual abuse settlements in late October.