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Issue Date:  August 27, 2004

2004 audits of diocesan sex abuse policy begin


The 2004 audits to measure compliance with sex abuse prevention policies by U.S. dioceses and Eastern-rite eparchies started in late July.

A new question this year is the number of allegations received by dioceses and eparchies since their 2003 audit, said Sheila Horan, deputy director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection.

The answers will establish a statistical base line needed to measure the success of prevention policies by showing whether future accusations will rise or fall, she said.

The child and youth protection office is responsible for conducting the on-site audits and has contracted the Gavin Group to do this year’s audits. It is the same organization that did the 2003 audits, the first to be conducted. Innovations in the 2004 include:

  • Provisions that allow individuals or groups with information that a diocese or eparchy may not be in compliance with policies to forward such information directly to the Gavin Group.
  • Giving dioceses and eparchies the audit results within two weeks of the completion of their individual audit rather than waiting for all audits to be completed, as was done in 2003.
  • Each diocese and eparchy will be asked the number of allegations it received during the approximately 12-month period since its last audit.

The 2003 audit did not ask about allegations. However, a church-approved national study on the sex abuse crisis by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that dioceses and eparchies received credible allegations of abuse against 4,392 clergymen involving 10,667 minors from 1950 to 2002.

People with information that “indicates that a particular article, or articles, of the charter are not being complied with” in a diocese or eparchy can mail the data to: Gavin Group, P.O. Box 520162, Winthrop MA 02152.

National Catholic Reporter, August 27, 2004

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