Bishops Fund Clergy Sex Abuse Study
The Tidings [United States]
November 17, 2006
By unanimous voice vote the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 13 approved spending $335,000 next year to fund the first phases of a massive study of the causes and context of clergy sexual abuse of minors in the U.S. Catholic Church.
Bishop Gregory M. Aymond of Austin, Texas, chairman of the bishops' Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, told the bishops that the New York-based John Jay College of Criminal Justice --- which in 2004 completed an extensive study commissioned by the bishops on the nature and extent of clergy sexual abuse of minors --- needs funding in 2007 for the first three phases of its follow-up study on the causes and context of the abuse.
The college expects to obtain outside funding for the more expensive last three phases of the new study, but it wants to maintain momentum in that study and sees progress on the first three phases as a factor that will help bring in funding for the rest, according to materials presented to the bishops.
Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, chairwoman of the National Review Board overseeing the bishops' compliance with their child protection charter, told the bishops, "I can't emphasize enough how important this study is for society as a whole" as well as for the church.
The first John Jay study was considered a landmark in its field, and the new study is expected to be similarly groundbreaking.
The board commissioned the college to do the follow-up on causes and context, expected to cost around $3 million, in November 2005, after the bishops the previous June committed $1 million from their reserve funds to help pay for the study. The $335,000 expenditure they approved Nov. 13 comes out of that $1 million commitment.
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