Audit Praises Bridgeport Diocese in Complying with Abuse Rules

The Advocate [Bridgeport CT]
October 11, 2003

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- An audit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport has found that church officials have complied with the requirements of the U.S. church to protect children, the diocese said Saturday.

The audit, conducted by the Boston-based Gavin Group, said the diocese exceeded requirements established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."

The audit commended the diocese for aggressively "making its efforts as transparent as possible to the public and parishioners, considering the restrictions of civil and criminal due process."

The Gavin Group, comprised of former FBI agents, was hired by the bishops conference to make sure 195 dioceses comply with the national church's charter enacted following a scandal in the Boston diocese called into question how abuse allegations are handled.

The charter imposes 17 rules, including one that requires the church to turn over abuse allegations to authorities for criminal investigation.

Bob Mulligan, a Norwalk-based spokesman for the reform group, Voice of the Faithful, said Saturday that "everything seems to be in order" with the audit and complies with national guidelines.

"They seem to have done their job," he said.

Mulligan said his group has no expertise to dispute audit findings.

Last month, a group representing abuse victims, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, criticized the Bridgeport Diocese's opposition to the disclosure of sealed court documents alleging sexual abuse by priests. A confidential settlement was reached with abuse victims more than two years ago.

The group also criticized Bishop William Lori for banning Voice of the Faithful from meeting on church property.

Lori helped draft the church's national policy on sexual abuse more than a year ago. He also was one of a few church leaders on a U.S.-Vatican commission that revised the plan, which bars guilty clerics from public ministry.


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