Since 2002, U.S. church has had strict protocols in place to address abuse

Catholic News Service via The Pilot

December 22, 2017

By Julie Asher

The death of Cardinal Bernard F. Law opened “a lot of old wounds,” causing “much pain and anger in those who have suffered so much already,” Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said Dec. 20, the day the Vatican announced Cardinal Law’s death.

The passing of the cardinal in Rome has put the spotlight once again on Boston as the epicenter of a clergy sex abuse scandal that has affected the whole U.S. church. The scandal erupted in 2002 and Cardinal Law resigned a year later amid allegations of mishandling clergy sex abuse cases.

Since 2002, however, the U.S. Catholic Church has taken many steps to bring abusers to justice, to prevent abuse and to heighten awareness of signs and symptoms of abuse.

“Looking at the culture of safety and well-being, the modus operandi has changed,” said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection. “No one can just go in to a parish and say they want to work with children, young people. They have to be cleared, background-checked, and it has to be done repeatedly. This ongoing awareness and mindfulness is in place.”

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