May 19, 2005

Contract for diocese audits is approved

The Union Leader

Union Leader Staff

CONCORD The Executive Council yesterday approved a contract to perform long-stalled audits of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

Annual audits are part of a 2002 agreement between the attorney general and the diocese to avoid criminal prosecution under the state's child endangerment statutes.

Attorney General Kelly Ayotte said the audit is needed to ensure the church has a policy in place that protects children. "This is a very important matter," she told the council.

The extent of the four annual audits and who would pay for them was litigated in Hillsborough County Superior Court. In March, Judge Carol A. Conboy ruled the state and the diocese should split the cost of the audits.

She also ruled the state could evaluate the effectiveness of the diocese's child protection policies without threatening the church's First Amendment or due process rights.

Posted by kshaw at May 19, 2005 01:41 PM