February 18, 2005

Archdiocese runs checks on priest

Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff | February 18, 2005

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, in a vast effort to prevent a recurrence of the child sexual abuse that has damaged its credibility and angered its membership, is now running criminal background checks on more than 60,000 priests, employees, and volunteers every year.

The archdiocese has also enlisted 2,000 volunteers to serve on parish child-abuse protection teams and has trained 30,000 to 40,000 children and 60,000 adults to spot and respond to abusive situations. In response to criticism that it had not sufficiently publicized its policy on child sexual abuse, the archdiocese has printed 90,000 brochures for distribution in parishes and other archdiocesan institutions explaining whom to contact in cases of suspected abuse.

Three archdiocesan officials charged with overseeing efforts to stop sexual abuse in the local church and with assisting victims of abuse described their efforts in an interview with the Globe. The interview was in anticipation of today's scheduled release in Washington, D.C., of the second annual audit on the child-protection programs of all 195 Catholic dioceses across the country. The audit assesses compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the child-protection policy adopted by the bishops in 2002.

In the audit, the Archdiocese of Boston is expected to receive perfect marks for complying with all the provisions, which include measures requiring outreach to victims, a process for responding to abuse allegations, cooperation with public authorities, and permanent removal of abusive priests and deacons from ministry.

Archdiocesan officials, asked by the Globe for the local audit results, released to the newspaper an executive summary of that section of the audit. It lists no areas of concern in Boston.

Posted by kshaw at February 18, 2005 04:20 AM