O'Malley, Lay Advisers to Discuss Abuse Policy

By Tom Mashberg
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
October 1, 2003

Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley will meet with an oversight committee Friday to explain behind-the-scenes changes in archdiocesan sexual abuse policies that have angered victims' rights advocates.

"That issue is among several to be discussed," church spokesman Christopher J. Coyne said yesterday. "Archbishop Sean is aware the matter has troubled people."

The formal sitdown comes several weeks after the Coalition of Catholics & Survivors discovered major alterations in the final text of the church's "Policies and Procedures for the Protection of Children." The changes, made quietly in the summer, stripped accusers of the right to review "information generated in connection with an investigation of alleged abuse."

Members of the Commission for the Protection of Children, which wrote the original policies, expressed dismay at the alterations.

Many said the church should have consulted them.

Victims and their advocates said they want the old policy restored.

"I hope the committee will hold the archdiocese's feet to the fire by upholding and reinstating the original language so there is equal access on the part of victims and the accused to documents," said Lori A. Lambert, a co-founder of the coalition. "Perhaps under the new compassionate leadership of Archbishop Sean, it will happen."


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