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Spotlight Report

Among the findings of the church audit

By Kathleen Hennrikus and James Bennett, Globe Staff, 1/7/2004

In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops established a charter that addressed allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. An audit conducted last year checked the progress of the 191 dioceses in the United States and offered detailed instructions, recommendations, and commendations on reaching compliance with the Bishop's charter.

Mandatory actions
Voluntary improvements
Praise for past actions

Established: 1808
Parishes: 357
Dates of audit: Oct. 27-31, 2003


  • Appoint a qualified person to oversee archdiocese's efforts at compliance.
  • Continue reaching out to victims and survivors discovered through civil litigation.
  • Further clarify the responsibilities of the Lay Review Board and the Implementation and Oversight Committee.
  • Educate public on procedure for filing sexual abuse complaints.
  • Continue creating a system to record abuse allegations that have been reported to the attorney general.
  • Continue education of church personnel on Code of Ministerial Behavior.
  • Continue background checks for volunteers who have regular contact with minors.


  • Established an outreach program
  • Aggressive efforts gave 200,000 in the archdiocese safe environment training.

    Established: 1821
    Parishes: 237
    Dates of audit: June 30-July 3 and Nov. 10-11, 2003


  • Review existing policy on anonymous reports of sexual abuse involving minors.
  • Participate in research on the "nature and scope" of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.


  • Improve communication with review board, response teams, and other resources.
  • Consider delegating chancellor's antiabuse duties, including the creation of a separate victims' advocate position to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

    Established: 1936
    Parishes: 288
    Dates of audit: June 23-27, 2003


  • Create formal procedures for reporting and recording allegations of the sexual abuse of minors to local authorities.


  • Update and disseminate current prevention policy on sexual abuse by clergy.
  • Revise the pamphlet on the sexual abuse prevention policy.
  • Work with district attorney to develop a method for reporting allegations of abuse and cooperating in ensuing investigations.


  • Adopted a written sexual abuse prevention policy before the charter.
  • Created a sexual abuse advisory board in 1994.

    Established: 1808
    Parishes: 413
    Dates of audit: Aug. 25-29, 2003


  • Continue changing sexual conduct policy to make it consistent with the charter.
  • Adopt and implement codes of conduct for clergy and other church personnel who have regular contact with children and young people.
  • Continue work on starting a safe environment program.


  • Develop written procedures for investigating abuse claims and a formal method to more effectively advise accused abusers of their rights.
  • Fully implement background checks for all employees who have regular contact with minors.

    Source: Report on the Implementation of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People"

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