Romney Mulls Oversight of Church Effort

By Robin Washington
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
March 1, 2004

Gov. Mitt Romney [related, bio] said he would consider a request by victim advocates for a panel to identify accused priests and oversee Bay State bishops' child protection efforts.

"We're happy to consider their request. Gov. Romney has worked hard to strengthen our laws in Massachusetts to protect children from dangerous sexual predators," spokeswoman Shawn Feddeman said.

The panel - similar to one Romney established after the jailhouse murder of defrocked priest John J. Geoghan - was demanded by 150 victims and advocates who marched to the State House from Holy Cross Cathedral yesterday.

"These men appear on no sex offender registry," the Coalition of Catholics and Survivors' Anne Barrett Doyle said of accused priests not criminally charged.

The coalition's Susan Gallagher assailed a church report last week identifying 162 accused Boston archdiocese priests, conflicting with a 1998 document listing 188.

Archdiocese spokesman the Rev. Christopher Coyne said the 1998 figure included order priests.

Gallagher disputed that, saying, "Until we can have an outside party come in and check them, we're never going to get it straight."


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