STROUDSBURG -- It was quiet outside St. Luke's Parish as cars drove by on Main Street in Stroudsburg. Inside, folks were listening intently as they learned how to deal with suspected child abuse.
The Diocese of Scranton is requiring these leaders to train how to report suspected abuse the right way.
The Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance held the three-hour course at St. Luke's Parish on Main Street in Stroudsburg.
“We are in a new era of dealing with this problem because it has become such a big problem, and of course being the church everything focuses here,” said Fr. Carmen Perry, St. Luke's
The Diocese of Scranton confirms it has received a subpoena from a state grand jury investigating sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Because of that investigation, the diocese plans to continue education and prevention programs and offer support for those who have suffered.
“We need to be assured as a parish and as a diocese that everyone is vetted and everyone is someone who parents are comfortable with trusting the children in our presence,” said Janet Smith, volunteer at St. Luke's.
The course can usually be taken online, but organizers say having an in-person experience gives participants the ability to have their questions answered by simply raising a hand.
“We feel it’s very important for all of our staff and our volunteers to recognize child abuse and know what are the protocols for reporting child abuse,” said Kathleen Bolinski, safe environment coordinator.
Fr. Perry says the church is trying to do as much as it can to take a stand against abuse.
“This is not just the church’s problem, it’s a human problem, but we want to take the lead of what’s going on in our own community as a church and of course be an example for others,” Fr. Perry said.
The diocese encourages anyone who has been sexually abused by a member of the clergy or anyone else, to immediately notify local law enforcement.