February 19, 2005

Catholic dioceses pass check for abuse

The Washington Times

By Cheryl Wetzstein

More than 95 percent of Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States passed an audit last year on how they are working to protect children from clergy sexual abuse, about an 8 percent improvement over 2003, a new report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) says.
Auditing teams, often comprising former FBI agents, found that 187 of 194 dioceses met the standards established in 2002, including the Diocese of Arlington, the only local diocese to fail the first audit conducted in 2003. Eighteen other dioceses failed the first audit.
But, "the crisis is not over," church officials said yesterday at a D.C. news conference, as 1,092 new sex-abuse accusations, including 22 from minors, were lodged against 756 Catholic priests and deacons in 2004.
While more than half of the accused clergy already are dead and had been named in other complaints, "over 300 of the reports received in 2004 identified alleged abusers not previously known," said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
What is over, said Miss McChesney, "is the denial that this problem exists" and "the reluctance of the church to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem."

Posted by kshaw at February 19, 2005 06:36 AM