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Spotlight Report

Panel has no victim of abuse

By Matt Carroll, Globe Staff, 9/27/2002

The Diocese of Providence yesterday announced the establishment of a board designed to review policies for protecting children, but it has thus far rejected suggestions that a victim of abuse be included on the panel.

Bishop Robert E. Mulvee named former Rhode Island Attorney General Dennis J. Roberts to chair the panel, which has eight members who will serve five-year terms. Members have expertise in psychology and sex abuse, according to the diocese. The panel is to suggest ways to strengthen diocesan policies and procedures, based on rules adopted by the national bishops' conference in June.

Timothy J. Conlon, the lead attorney for 36 victims of sexual abuse who settled their suits for $13.5 million on Sept. 9, praised the establishment of the panel, but asked Mulvee to name at least one victim to the board. Many victims, he said, ''would gladly volunteer their time to any effort to prevent future abuse.''

A diocesan spokesman said the decision was up to Roberts. Roberts said he believes victims' concerns can be embraced without a victim being on the panel itself. ''The judgment from the board was it wasn't necessary because we do plan to have people, including victims, come and talk with us.'' he said.

This story ran on page A17 of the Boston Globe on 9/27/2002.
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