April 04, 2006

Priest personnel files may be opened to auditors



Auditors hired to rate diocesan compliance with church child-protection programs would have access to priest personnel files under a proposal approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee earlier this month. The measure will be considered by the full body of bishops at their June 2006 meeting in Los Angeles.

The proposal to allow auditors greater access to information was announced at a March 30 news conference in which the bishops released reports indicating that 89 percent of U.S. dioceses were in compliance with the church’s “Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth” during 2005. The announcement comes on the heels of reports commissioned by Chicago Cardinal Francis George that demonstrated the inadequacy of church child-protection policies in that archdiocese (NCR, March 31).

William Gavin, chairman of the organization conducting the diocesan audits, told the news conference that problems revealed in Chicago demonstrate the need for greater auditor access to church files. The auditors hired by Chicago church officials to investigate complaints against a prominent pastor “had access to everything,” said Gavin. Gavin said the auditors who work for him need the same type of access.

Posted by kshaw at April 4, 2006 01:19 PM