Letters to the Editor (Long Island Edition)
Murphy's Not to Blame
Newsday [Long Island NY]
February 21, 2003
Regarding Bishop William Murphy's statement "Faith and New Works: A Bishop's Responsibility" dealing with the handling of cases of reported sexual abuse ["I Seek to Correct and Make Amends," News, Feb. 13]: I believe it is even more important to prevent the situations from happening at all.
I do not have confidence that there is enough being done to prevent sexual abuse by priests. Nowhere in the statement is there any information on how the Rockville Centre Diocese will ensure that the diocese itself and each of its parishes comply with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People." The charter addresses prevention issues, but how are we, people already jaded by past actions and cover-ups, to have confidence that it is being followed?
I suggest that the diocese fund a position of special investigator. There are many models of special investigators in government agencies. The special investigator's responsibilities would include monitoring every parish, school and organization's compliance with the charter. The special investigator would monitor safe environment programs, verify that background checks are being done, and confirm that the clergy's standard for conduct with minors is widely distributed in every community.
So that we may have confidence in the position, I also suggest that the special investigator position be hired by and report not to the bishop, but to a diocesan review board.
Properly done, appointing a special investigator may be the first step in restoring the laity's confidence in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
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