January 12, 2006

Church has led way in dealing with sex abuse issue

Pittsburgh Catholic

by: Robert P. Lockwood

The Catholic Church has done more perhaps than any other entity in this state and in this country in the previous 20 years to address the tragedy of sexual abuse. In fact, despite intense media scrutiny, most abuse cases that have received the widest notoriety are based on allegations of abuse 20, 30, 40 and even 50 years ago.

One rarely discussed fact in the issue of clergy sexual abuse is that because of actions taken by church leadership, such incidents of abuse have virtually disappeared since the early 1990s. Nationwide, there have been only a handful of accusations of abuse after 1993. Even when the Archdiocese of Boston was aggressively pursued by both the attorney general and local media in 2002, not one case of abuse could be found after 1993.

Many Catholic dioceses had written, enforced policies in place well before much of the country paid attention at all to the issue of the sexual abuse of children. While public schools were still quietly allowing abusers to move from one school system to the next, many Catholic dioceses had already adopted as policy that one substantiated, credible allegation of abuse meant removal from active ministry in parishes.

Posted by kshaw at January 12, 2006 09:51 PM