U.S. Bishops Add 8 to Review Panel on Sexual Abuse

Chairman Qualifies Earlier Statement About Prosecuting Prelates

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 25, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The president of the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference named eight more lay people to a sexual abuse review board.



The new members are:

--William Burleigh, chairman and former chief executive officer of Cincinnati, Ohio-based E.W. Scripps Company;

--Nicholas Cafardi, the dean of Duquesne University Law School in Pittsburgh who has been legal counsel to several Church bodies;

--Jane Chiles, former director of the Kentucky State Catholic Conference;

--Alice Bourke Hayes, president of the University of San Diego;

--Pamela Hayes, attorney in private practice with a concentration on criminal defense litigation and federal civil right litigation, New York

--Paul McHugh, former chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine;

--Leon Panetta, former chief of staff for the Clinton White House; and

--Ray Siegfried II, chairman of NORDAM Group, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The chairman of the review board, Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma, said in an interview this week that his main mission was to restore confidence in the Church and not to seek the discipline or prosecution of bishops who did not remove abusive priests.

"All of us are independent-minded people, all of us deeply love our faith," Keating told the New York Times, "but all of us are shocked, outraged and angered by what has occurred and will do whatever we can to contribute to the restoration of the faith."

When Keating's appointment was announced at the bishops' meeting in Texas last month, he startled Church officials by suggesting that the board could seek the prosecution of "criminally sanctionable bishops." But Wednesday he qualified that, saying such responsibility rested first with local diocesan review boards, but that if necessary, "then yes, we will get involved," the Times reported.

At their meeting in Dallas, the bishops called for the creation of the review board to monitor their compliance with the new policies on clerical sexual abuse, to initiate studies on the causes and extent of child abuse in the Church and to work with the bishops' new Office for Child and Youth Protection.

The new members join the previously announced members of the group: Keating; Robert S. Bennett, President Clinton's former defense lawyer; Justice Anne M. Burke of the Illinois Court of Appeals; and Michael Bland, who works in the victim assistance ministry for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Another member is yet to be named.

All the members were approved and informed of their selection by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Keating said that Bishop Gregory had suggested a board of as many as 20 members that could include non-Catholics, nuns and priests.

But he said that the initial core group of four board members preferred to keep the board smaller, with 13 members, and limit it to practicing lay Catholics.

Keating added: "We felt it was important that the Catholic Church -- and one out of four Americans is a Catholic -- heal itself and not call upon outsiders
to do so."