Nine years after a scandal in Boston prompted America’s Roman Catholic bishops to announce sweeping policy changes to protect children from sexual abuse by priests, the bishops are scrambling to contain the damage from a growing crisis in Philadelphia that has challenged the credibility of their own safeguards.Read the rest here.
When a grand jury in Philadelphia reported last month that the archdiocese there allowed 37 priests accused of abuse or inappropriate behavior to remain in ministry, it came as a complete surprise to the local and national “review boards” that the bishops have put in place to help keep them accountable, members of those boards said.
Church officials are also deeply troubled by how it is possible that in the bishops’ most recent annual “audit” — conducted by an outside agency to monitor each diocese’s compliance with the policy changes — Philadelphia passed with flying colors, said Teresa M. Kettelkamp, executive director of the bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, which issues the annual audit reports.
“To have that level of compromise of our programs and our process, I was totally shocked,” said Ms. Kettelkamp, who spent 30 years in law enforcement and corruption investigations before she was hired by the bishops.
The revelations in Philadelphia have called into question the efficacy of the bishops’ reform plan, unveiled in 2002 under the intense spotlight cast by the Boston scandal and called, “The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”