February 18, 2005

Group Checks Dioceses' Abuse Prevention

New York Newsday

AP Religion Writer

February 18, 2005, 1:59 AM EST

WASHINGTON -- A group comprised mostly of former FBI agents has traveled the country for the second consecutive year, examining sex abuse prevention programs in Roman Catholic dioceses.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops plans to reveal Friday what the auditors found. A spokesman said "gigantic strides have been made" in protecting children.

"The bishops pledged with God's help to do whatever must be done to rid the church of the horrible scourge of the sexual abuse of children," said Bill Ryan, of the bishops' conference. "There will be no slacking off in this commitment."

But victim advocates said the diocesan audits were fundamentally flawed.

The bishops' new report is the latest in a series they commissioned to restore trust in their leadership after the clergy molestation crisis erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston and spread nationwide.

The first series of audits, released a year ago, found 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully compliant with the discipline policy the bishops adopted under intense public pressure in June 2002. But auditors also found shortcomings in the reforms, such as ineffective monitoring of guilty priests.

Posted by kshaw at February 18, 2005 04:30 AM