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Priest Files May Be Open to Auditors

Even though the Chicago archdiocese was judged in compliance with national norms governing clergy sex abuse, an independent commission appointed by Cardinal George found that the archdiocese allowed a priest to remain in ministry for more than four months after credible allegations of sexually abusing three teenage boys.  This resulted in calls for George’s resignation as president-elect of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the part of national Call To Action and national Voice of the Faithful. It also led William Gavin, chairperson of the group charged with conducting all diocesan audits to comment that the Chicago situation showed the need for greater auditor access to Church files.  At a March 30 news conference, the Administrative Committee of the USCCB made public a proposal to open diocesan priest personnel files to independent auditors.  The proposal will be discussed at the bishops’ June meeting in Los Angeles. “The Chicago situation clearly shows that the bishops’ system of self-monitoring and self-surveys doesn’t work and kids are left at risk,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).  SNAP also called for George to resign as the Archbishop of Chicago. (Press Releases and National Catholic Reporter 4/7/06)

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