The Diocese of Erie announced its revised policy for the protection of children and youth during a news conference Friday morning at the same time it released a list of priests and laypersons credibly accused of sexual abuse

The new policy includes three major new components:

First, it has an expanded set of definitions that leave no doubt as to what constitutes abuse. It also includes definitions for terms such as threshold evidence. In addition, it explains what needs to be present for a child abuse case to be considered substantiated.

The second significant change in our policy is the greatly expanded role of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth. It will now become the central depository of all allegations from any school, agency, parish or other source connected to the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Erie.

As you may know, anyone working or volunteering with minors or youth in any Catholic institution in the Diocese of Erie currently must secure clearances from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Going forward, in addition to those clearances, they will need a clearance from our Office for the Protection of Children and Youth.

The third aspect of our new policy is an updated and revised website, going live today at The site contains the new policy in its entirety.

Bishop Lawrence Persico called the policy a "living document" and expressed his "sorrow and apologies" for the victims on behalf of the Diocese.

The Diocese is working with law enforcement, medical experts, survivor support groups, compliance experts and academia to make sure it is doing the most it can to keep children and others safe.

The Erie Catholic Diocese was one of six in Pennsylvania subpoenaed by the state Attorney General's Office in September 2016.

FULL STATEMENTS from Erie Catholic Diocese Bishop Lawrence Persico and Communications Director Anne-Marie Welsh