Clergy Abuse Victims Call for Supervised Homes for Accused Priests

By Denise Lavoie
Providence Journal [Boston MA]
Downloaded September 4, 2003

BOSTON (AP) - Archbishop Sean O'Malley has agreed to meet Saturday with the alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse and their lawyers so he can hear the victims' personal stories.

Attorney Jeffrey Newman told The Associated Press that O'Malley agreed to the meeting as part of an effort to reach a settlement with the victims.

A steering committee of victims' attorneys met Wednesday with church lawyers, but no settlement was reached, Newman said. They scheduled another meeting for 8 a.m. Saturday to continue the negotiations.

Also Wednesday, a group of alleged victims gathered outside the Boston Archdiocese's chancery offices, where they unveiled a long list of recommendations for reforms they want O'Malley to enact.

The victims want the church to create supervised homes where priests accused of abuse can live and be closely monitored. They also want the archdiocese to set up an independent board to review claims against priests.

The victims said they had hoped to present their recommendations to the new archbishop himself, but he had so far not responded to their requests for a meeting.

"We had hoped to give (the recommendations) to Archbishop O'Malley first ... but he just never responded," said Ann Hagan Webb, who said she was abused by a priest as a child.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said O'Malley has met with other clergy abuse victims at least two to three times a week since being installed as archbishop a little over a month ago.

Coyne said O'Malley was still considering the request from Hagan's group, but has been reluctant to participate in the kind of public meeting they suggested out of respect for the privacy of victims.

"Archbishop O'Malley has met and will continue to meet with survivors and their families," Coyne said.


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