Neb. Diocese Won't Partake in Study [Lincoln Neb]
Downloaded January 11, 2004

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lincoln won't participate in a national study tracking sexual abuse in the church, making it the only diocese in the nation to refuse to take part.

The study, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will attempt to tally every church abuse case in the country since 1950. It's part of an effort to develop safeguards to prevent sexual abuse.

Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, who has held the post since 1992, said in a statement Friday that the study seemed to exist more to "satisfy curiosity" than to help victims, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Bruskewitz also said the study included inconclusive allegations, that many of the accused are dead and can't defend themselves and that the study could be unreliable because each diocese is "self-reporting."

The Lincoln diocese represents about 89,000 Catholics.

The national study, being conducted by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, is scheduled to be released Feb. 27.

The church abuse scandal started two years ago with revelations about a single predatory priest in the Archdiocese of Boston. It spread to every American diocese, with thousands of abuse claims across the country.

The bishops' council also listed two other dioceses - in Davenport, Iowa, and Fresno, Calif., - as not participating in the study. But Fresno diocese officials said they were late submitting paperwork and were participating; an attorney for the Davenport diocese, Rand Wonio, said it was unable to participate because of pending litigation.

Three small eparchies in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts also were not participating. Eparchies are geographic districts for Catholics who accept the authority of the pope, but follow different rituals.

Kathleen McChesney, head of the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, said this week that she believes the study is well done and will produce good results.


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