Audit of U.S. Diocesan Policies to Begin

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 1, 2003 (Zenit.org).- An audit of diocesan policies dealing with the problem of sexual abuse of children and young people by clergy will begin this month, the U.S. bishops' conference says.



The audit will be conducted by the Gavin Group of Boston, headed by William Gavin, a compliance auditor formerly with the FBI.

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the bishops' conference in June 2002, established an Office for Child and Youth Protection. One of the duties of this office is to produce "an annual public report on the progress made in implementing the standards in this Charter.

To facilitate an audit of the 195 Catholic dioceses and eparchies (dioceses of the Eastern Catholic Church) in the United States, the bishops' conference engaged the Gavin Group as consultants.

More than 50 auditors were trained May 19-22 to do on-site audits of the compliance of dioceses with the standards of the charter. The auditors will operate in teams of two, and no auditor will be permitted to audit his own diocese if he or she is a Catholic. The audit does not include an evaluation of the dioceses' pre-charter policies or actions.

The plan is to audit about 11 dioceses a week between late June and late October. The reports will be forwarded to the Office for Child and Youth Protection, which will begin drawing up the overall report.