January 15, 2005

Church canít retreat from pact with state

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Nashua Telegraph

Published: Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005

If they had to do it all over again, thereís no doubt that lawyers in the New Hampshire attorney generalís office would have been more precise in their wording of an agreement with the Diocese of Manchester. The agreement reached in December of 2002 protected leaders of the diocese from prosecution for child endangerment in connection with child sex abuse cases.

Prosecutors said they had plenty of evidence and were confident of a conviction, but agreed not to proceed as long as the diocese introduced practices to protect children and allowed the state to audit those practices annually.

The state and diocese are now at odds over what exactly an audit entails.

The state wants a professional research firm to survey 2,000 parishioners and church personnel to determine if the practices are working.

The diocese says that goes too far, and wants the audit limited to a paper review of policies, supplemented by an interview with the diocesan official who handles sexual misconduct.

Posted by kshaw at January 15, 2005 08:49 AM