May 23, 2005

Church audits get close look

The Union Leader

Union Leader Staff

Poised to launch the third round of annual audits to determine whether Catholic dioceses and eparchies are complying with the church's child protection policies, the nation's bishops defend them as a credible.

Still, opinions differ among leaders of groups representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. Some claim the audits are meaningless while another said the mere fact bishops are submitting to outside scrutiny is a milestone.

"The fact that the audits are being conducted and dioceses around the country are opening up to that process to having independent oversight is a very good thing," said Susan Archibald, president of The Linkup, a support group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse that has about 3,000 members.

But the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests dismissed them as nothing more than a public relations ploy that could do more harm than good by fostering a false sense of security.

"It leads Catholics to a sense of complacency when complacency is really dangerous," said David Clohessy, executive director of the group, which represents more than 5,000 clergy sexual abuse survivors.

Posted by kshaw at May 23, 2005 07:02 AM