February 20, 2005

Diocese underwent internal audit while disputing stateís

Nashua Telegraph

By ALBERT McKEON, Telegraph Staff

Published: Sunday, Feb. 20, 2005

An internal audit of sexual abuse policies produced results that leaders of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester liked to hear.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops not only found the diocese in full compliance with its national child protection policies, but it credited the church in New Hampshire for taking additional steps not required.

This local review, publicly released Friday, was part of a broader survey to examine whether the countryís 195 dioceses follow the policies that the bishops enacted almost three years ago in response to widespread fallout from the abuse crisis.

State prosecutors would also like to study how the Manchester diocese handles abuse, but the church and state have not seen eye to eye on the auditís scope. A Hillsborough County Superior court judge has the case under advisement after attorneys for both sides presented their views last month.

The state attorney generalís office wants to interview anyone who would use the dioceseís procedures - not just employees, but also laypeople who volunteer. Church officials claim the scope of that process would cross a constitutional boundary.

Posted by kshaw at February 20, 2005 08:10 AM