On 10th anniversary…

Boston Globe

On 10th anniversary, Cardinal O’Malley recaps church response to sex abuse scandal; critics are unimpressed

By Brian MacQuarrie and Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

The Archdiocese of Boston has settled approximately 800 clergy sexual abuse claims, is providing care to about 300 abuse survivors at any given time, and has given anti-abuse training to nearly half a million children and adults, Cardinal Sean O’Malley said in a report issued today outlining the church’s response in the wake of the scandal that first broke 10 years ago this month.

But critics said they were unimpressed. “To this point, the church has failed miserably, miserably, miserably,” said Bernie McDaid, 55, of Peabody, who was abused in the late 1960s in Salem.

“Nothing has been done but whatever the court has made them do,” McDaid said.

O’Malley also said in his report that the church had strengthened its training standards for priests and made the candidate screening process “the strongest possible, with particular attention to any issues related to child safety.” The church conducts more than 60,000 criminal background checks a year on priests, teachers, volunteers, and other people working with children, according to the report, “Ten Years Later – Reflections on the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston.” …

Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, also assailed O’Malley’s statements. “I’m very underwhelmed,” McKiernan said, adding that the cardinal “basically recycles the usual claims that we’ve heard a lot already, that they’ve experienced a learning curve, that they really didn’t understand the situation.”

Although criminal background checks of clergy and increased educational awareness about abuse are positive developments, McKiernan said, ‘it shows not so much that the church wants to do the right things here, but that they’ve been forced to do the right thing.”

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