February 23, 2005

AG's tally of abuse outpaces church's

Union Leader

Union Leader Staff

A discrepancy exists between the number of reports of child sexual abuse against Roman Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Manchester kept by church officials and the state Attorney General's Office in 2004.

A state prosecutor yesterday said it's "very plausible" the inconsistency may be because some alleged victims filed complaints only with the state and not the diocese.

Still, it underscores the need for his office to conduct annual audits of diocesan records and personnel mandated as part of the agreement the Manchester diocese struck with the state in 2002 to avoid criminal prosecution for child endangerment Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker said yesterday.

"That is obviously one of the important issues that the audit is supposed to investigate. And until we are able to review their records and speak with personnel who do intake on these cases, we can't compare the information we have with their records," Delker said.

"I don't want to characterize it as a matter of concern, because I don't know whether or not they have reported all the cases. That's certainly something we want to look at," he added.

Posted by kshaw at February 23, 2005 07:11 AM