Audit: Diocese in Compliance

By Bill Zajac
The Republican
January 5, 2006

SPRINGFIELD - For the third time in three years, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has been found to be in full compliance with the U.S. bishops' policy to prevent abuse of minors, the diocese announced yesterday.

The diocese also announced that Patricia Finn McManamy has been hired as the diocesan director of counseling, prevention and victim services, replacing Laura Failla Reilly, who resigned in the summer.

The diocese was notified recently that the Gavin Group of Boston determined it was in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the policy created by U.S. bishops several years ago to prevent abuse of minors.

The full report is not yet available, but in the past two years the reports have been posted on the Internet by the church. Springfield diocesan spokesman Mark E. Dupont said he expects the audit to be posted in the near future.

The Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, bishop of the Springfield diocese, expressed delight.

"The ongoing efforts in parishes, schools and religious education programs to ensure that the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is fully implemented have borne fruit," McDonnell was quoted in a press release. He was not available for an interview.

The audit determined the diocese successfully implemented its abuse education programs for workers, volunteers and children, which the diocese was in the process of implementing when the 2004 audit was conducted.

Dupont said the church nationwide has made great strides in putting in place safeguards to prevent abuse.

The audits have come under criticism in the past for not being thorough. For example, in the 2004 audit, there was no mention that the then-sitting bishop, the Most Rev. Thomas L. Dupre, was indicted on rape charges after he resigned amid allegations of sexual abuse occurring more than two decades earlier. The Hampden County district attorney said he could not prosecute because the statute of limitations had expired.

McManamy, a Northampton resident, has 20 years of experience in the human services field, including a four-year tenure as victim advocate in the child protection unit of the attorney general's office in Vermont.

She has served as a psychotherapist with Service Net in Greenfield and a case manager with Brightside for Families and Children in West Springfield.

McManamy will begin on Feb. 2.

She earned her undergraduate degree from Trinity College and a master's degree in social work from Smith College.


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