March 31, 2006

Current diocesan sex abuse audits not enough, says review board head

Catholic News Service

By Jerry Filteau
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops need to step to a new level in assessing their programs and policies to protect children and prevent clerical sex abuse, the head of the bishops'Abuse Tracker Review Board said March 30.

"The present audit process is insufficient," Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, the board's chairwoman, told journalists gathered at Washington'sAbuse Tracker Press Club for the public release of the 2005 audits of the sex abuse responsiveness of dioceses and male religious orders.

The process must move from seeing whether dioceses have requisite policies and programs in place to assessing how effectively those policies and programs are being implemented, she said.

The board, a 13-member panel of prominent lay Catholics, was established by the bishops in 2002 to monitor the compliance of dioceses with the provisions of the bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People." One of its tasks is to review annual audits of diocesan child protection and sex abuse response policies and programs and make recommendations to the bishops for improvements in those areas.

Posted by kshaw at March 31, 2006 07:40 AM