Catholic Diocese of Salina | Overview of the Diocesan Program for a Safe Environment


As a community of faith, we believe that preventing child sexual abuse begins with every person. Raising awareness and a willingness to act are steps that every person must take to eradicate abuse in our society, community, neighborhood and family.

In the Catholic Diocese of Salina, we ensure this by:

  • Carefully sort and train all clergy, staff, educators, and volunteers in dealing with children. This group includes drivers who transport minors, coaches, kitchen workers, and playground supervisors, to name a few. Training is carried out through CMGConnect, our online training platform through Catholic Mutual, which includes an integrated background check through
  • Provide appropriate training in recognizing and reporting child sexual abuse to appropriate civil and church authorities. This training is done through meetings and presentations and is also discussed during on-site audit visits with ward and school security coordinators, pastors and directors. Child abuse training material is presented through various materials, flyers, posters and is distributed to parishes and schools through our website, newsletter and SDNB.
  • Hold all clergy, staff and volunteers who work with minors to professional and Christ-centered codes of conduct.
  • Provide safe environment training for STUDENTS in Catholic schools and parish religious education programs. In these annual refresher courses, teachers will explain how to create and maintain a safe environment for children and young people. These age-appropriate lessons may include information and instruction on: love of God, relationships, personal space, boundaries, respect and care; safe and dangerous contacts; lures, internet safety, bullying, and how to get help from a trusted adult. This training is intended for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
  • For more information on the Safe Environment Program for the Catholic Diocese of Salina, please contact Wendy Backes 785-827-8746 # 24

Lay Review Board

The Diocesan Lay Review Council meets quarterly. During these meetings, the board discusses improvements that could be made to the Diocesan Safe Environment Program, in terms of its policies and procedures. In addition, other important and sensitive issues can be discussed as needed.

Board members

Sherrie kelly
Retired School Counselor for Sacred Heart Jr / Sr. High school

Dr George Jerkovich
Psychiatrist at the Regional Medical Center of Salina

Camille Straub
Counselor, St. Mary’s Elementary School

Jerome HellmerPresident
Retired Judge, 28th Judicial District, Salina, Kansas

John nachtman
Retired senior KBI agent

Caryn Huslig – PA

Physician Assistant Veridian Behavioral Health

Marie cheney
LSCSW, Counselor at Veridian Mental Health / Salina, Victim Support Coordinator

Christiana petersonVice-president
Quality Review Specialist, Forensic Medicine – SRHC- Salina

Sr Mary Jo Thummel
CSJ, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Concordia, Kansas

Dcn. Steve frueh
Retired Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper and ATF Federal Officer, ex officio

Corey Lyon (Moderator)
Diocesan Chancellor, Advocate Canon, member by right

Reverend Keith Weber
Pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Salina – ex-officio member

Rev. Mgr. James hake
Defender of the Link of the Marriage Court and Canon Lawyer, ex officio member


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