Protection of the Faithful

The Department for the Protection of the Faithful is committed to complying with the Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People


Mission Statement

The Department for the Protection of the Faithful consists of three offices:

Office of Child and Youth Protection

The Office of Child and Youth Protection shares in the mission of the Archdiocese of Newark to be a living sign of Jesus Christ’s presence by assisting our youth in building a relationship with God by providing a safe environment. Toward this goal, the Office will implement and ensure compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Office of Accompaniment 

The Office of Accompaniment also shares in the Archdiocesan mission of coming to offer God’s merciful and loving providence to all. We are called to search out the needs, not only of the Catholic community, but of the total community; and then to respond accordingly with open mind and generous heart. Toward this second mission, this Office will provide outreach to victims/survivors and their families and demonstrate a sincere commitment to their spiritual and emotional well-being. For victim assistance information and services, Gina Criscuolo, LCSW, the Coordinator for this Office, is the contact.

Office of Investigations 

The Office of Investigations will provide external, independent investigations of allegations of impropriety, by clergy and lay employees, following the lighted path established by Pope Francis and Cardinal Tobin to resolve to “follow the path of truth wherever it may lead.”

Rosary for Healing

Bishop Elias Lorenzo, O.S.B. leads the rosary and is joined by victim-survivors, certified facilitators in our safeguarding programs, and those who accompany survivors of child sex abuse.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required to meet the Safe Environment policies if I want to volunteer with minors?

You need to fill out a volunteer application, sign the current Archdiocesan Code of Conduct, have a criminal background check and take a course in child sexual abuse awareness and prevention.  Although the Code of Conduct, application and background check must be completed before you start your service, you have 30 days to take the Protecting God’s Children program.

Do you do a credit check? 

No, only a criminal background check is performed.

If I’ve been fingerprinted in order to teach in a NJ school, do I need a background check?

No, as long as your role at the parish is that of a volunteer, and you are still teaching in a NJ school. Ensure the school where you are teaching is correctly indicated on your NJ DOE Applicant Approval Employment History form. If not, you must do the Archive process to change it.

Is the course that I have to take available online? 

No, the first time, the course must be taken in person. There are online recertification options. See the answer below.

Whom do I contact in my parish or school for more information or to get the forms above?

Contact the Local Safe Environment Coordinator, who is assigned by the Pastor or Principal. You can contact your parish or school OR if you have a Virtus account, you can access their information by going to your HOME tab and looking in the box titled LSEC Contact.

How do I recertify my training? How often is that done?

The training is recertified either every month online in a continuous process, or every five years in another live training session.

Who must undergo criminal history record checks?

All clergy, employees, volunteers, members of religious communities, international and temporarily assigned clergy as well as all volunteers who interact with minors as part of their service are required to submit to a Criminal History Record check before beginning their Archdiocesan service, and every five years thereafter. The Department for the Protection of the Faithful, in partnership with the parishes and schools, uses a centralized screening process.

What happens when criminal history record checks turn up a criminal record?

If the background check is completed with a “hit,” careful consideration will be given to the role and type of contact as it relates to minors and/or vulnerable individuals. At all times, the safety of the youth and vulnerable will be paramount and decisions will be made accordingly.

What are the requirements for abuse prevention training?

All clergy, employees, volunteers, members of religious communities, international and temporarily assigned clergy as well as all volunteers who interact with minors as part of their service are required to complete the Virtus Protecting God’s Children training with updates every five years.

Archdiocesan Review Board Members

Select a member’s name to read their bio

The ARB’s role is to act as a consultative body that advises the Archbishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual of minors by priests and deacons.

Msgr. David Fulton

Michael McGarrity

Filomena D’Amico

Fr. Philip Waters

Hon. Thomas P. Olivieri, Chairperson

Mathias Hagovsky

Ordained in 1967, David Fulton is pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Victories Church, Baptistown, NJ (1988-2012) and retired associate professor of moral theology at St Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore (2006-2020). He was a member of the NJ Supreme Court’s Advisory committee on Professional Ethics (1990-2009) and served as Promoter of Justice for the Diocese of Metuchen (2002-2019). He holds doctorates in moral theology and in canon law.

Michael McGarrity has spent a career protecting others. Michael currently provides Fortune 500 businesses with tailored risk management and security services. Previously, Michael served as the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division where he led all counterterrorism operations and investigations, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI New York Office, Director of the U.S. Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, Director of Counterterrorism at the White House National Security Council and Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Michael is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Leadership Award – Distinguished and Department of Justice Victim Assistance National Award.

Filomena D’Amico began her career as an educator at the Academy of Our Lady of Grace in 2005. The past ten years she has served in the role of School Principal. A few accomplishments during this time included Academy status, enrollment increase, and a beautiful addition of a full science lab. Filomena received her Master’s in Educational Leadership at Saint Peter’s University and is in her second year at Fordham pursuing her PhD in Educational Policy and Supervision for Catholic School Leadership. Filomena resides in Washington Township with her husband, Joe, and two daughters, Catherine and Valentina.

Fr. Philip Waters graduated from St. Benedict’s Prep, Seton Hall University and Woodstock Theological Seminary; he was ordained in 1972.  He taught and coached track at St. Benedict’s for the next fifteen years and earned a MA in English from NYU.  After a three-year assignment in Kentucky, he returned to St. Benedict’s.  In 1995, he was appointed Pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, a position he has held since.  He is in his fourth term as Dean of Central Newark Deanery 20.

Thomas P Olivieri was appointed as a Superior Court Judge in 1992, and served in the Family, Criminal and Civil Divisions until 2002, when he was named as Presiding Judge of General Equity, Hudson County. He served as the Chairperson of the Conference of General Equity Judges and is the longest serving Chancery Judge in Hudson County Superior Court history. He retired from the bench in 2012 and currently serves as Counsel to the law firm of Chasan Lamparello Mallon & Cappuzzo, PC. Judge Olivieri has a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from the University of Richmond. 

Mathias Hagovsky is a licensed psychologist whose office has been in Livingston since l977. He specializes in forensics and family law and has conducted thousands of forensic evaluations. He is a graduate of St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, Benedictine College in Kansas, Seton Hall University, and Fordham University. 


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