Fighting Complacency

The annual report on the implementation of the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” warns against complacency in dioceses. The new report said that between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, 26 allegations of clerical sexual abuse were made by minors; seven had been substantiated. All allegations were reported to civil authorities. The previous year, 37 allegations had been made, and 43 in the year before that. Francesco C. Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, the all-lay group that tracks for the bishops how dioceses address clergy sexual abuse, said this year’s audit results “continue to demonstrate the progress that has been made in ensuring safe environments for children in the church.” However, he also warned that the U.S. church’s progress can “foster a false sense of security” that can “lead to complacency.” One example Cesareo gave was that “while every diocese has a diocesan review board, thereby complying with the charter’s requirement, in some cases the diocesan review board rarely meets or had not met in several years.”

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