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Opinion piece

Opinion piece: Pass abuse bill to protect children from predators

Letter to the editor, published in The News Journal, April 5, 2007

A national expert reported recently that the bishops of the Catholic Church raised the bar significantly to prevent child sexual abuse. It represents “the first truly comprehensive plan” for preventing abuse within a large-scale child-serving organization. This charter was written in 2002.

Fast-forward to 2006 for just a few examples of how well our hierarchy has enforced the charter. The bishop of Santa Rosa, Calif., knew of a priest who had admitted to sexually abusing a youngster.

Church officials, including a diocesan lawyer, waited four days before notifying civil authorities, thus allowing the priest time to flee the country.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal George delayed removing a priest, ignoring his own review board recommendation, even after receiving credible evidence of a student being sexually abused by the priest. Due to the inaction of George, two additional youths were sexually abused.

In the Wilmington Diocese, after steadfastly refusing to name the Rev. Francis G. DeLuca as a priest with “credible evidence” of sexual abuse, our bishop had a sudden change of heart and named all but two priests who have “credible evidence” of sexually abusing youth in our community.

It appears to me that this “comprehensive plan” for preventing abuse looks good in print, but it is not being enforced by our American bishops. It is time for the passage of Senate Bill 29.

Ed Burke, Avondale, Pa.

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