March 31, 2006

Leader of Catholic watchdog says dioceses need broader oversight

Belleville News-Democrat

Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The head of a lay watchdog panel created by Roman Catholic bishops says a key reform the prelates adopted to protect children from clergy sex abuse is insufficient.

Patricia Ewers, chairwoman of theAbuse Tracker Review Board, said annual audits by a private firm that checks whether child protection programs are in place should be expanded to measure whether the polices are effective.

Her comments came Thursday as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released results of the third annual audit of child protection policies in the 195 American dioceses.

Auditors found that 88.5 percent of dioceses had put in place full safeguards for children, as required by the bishops' reforms. However, 104 dioceses conducted a "self-audit." In previous years, teams from the Gavin Group, led by former FBI agent William Gavin, had conducted onsite audits in all participating dioceses.

Posted by kshaw at March 31, 2006 07:12 AM