February 11, 2005

Archdiocese gets positive rating on abuse

The Washington Times

By Julia Duin

A recent audit found the Archdiocese of Washington compliant with new Roman Catholic Church policies on reporting child sexual abuse, church officials said yesterday.
This is the second consecutive year the archdiocese has fully complied with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, implemented in 2002 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the wake of the church's sexual abuse scandal. It demands every diocese comply with the charter and calls for strict annual audits.
These audits are conducted by the Boston-based Gavin Group, which is made up of former FBI investigators. A full audit of 194 U.S. dioceses will be released next week.
In 2004, the Washington archdiocese received accusations against two of its former priests, who are no longer in ministry, and a janitor.
One of the charges was against the Rev. Francis A. Benham, who pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to child abuse and sodomy charges involving a boy, 10, and a girl, 13, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Forestville. He will be sentenced Feb. 25 at the Prince George's County Courthouse.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore was also found fully compliant with the 2004 audit, according to spokesman Sean Caine.
The Diocese of Arlington refused to release its results until Feb. 18. Last year, it was found noncompliant in several areas, but since then it has instituted a mandatory fingerprinting policy for priests, seminarians, nuns, church employees and lay volunteers who work with children.

Posted by kshaw at February 11, 2005 07:54 AM