Church to Roll out New Rules to Protect Children

By Jay Levine
CBS 2 [Chicago IL]
February 6, 2006

(CBS) CHICAGO The Archdiocese of Chicago is moving ahead with new guidelines to protect children from sexual abuse by priests.

CBS 2's Jay Levine reports that new safeguards are to be announced in a few days.

It is a subtle but significant shift: Acting first, asking questions later.

The upcoming policy change is guided by the only lay person to ever serve as chancellor of the Chicago Archdiocese. He's promising an independent investigation into what went wrong.

"I want a serious individual who has done this, and we are looking at some former FBI agents who have been part of the national audit company who are now doing their own thing to come and take a look at these two situations," said Archdiocese Chancellor Jimmy Lago.

In the case of Father Dan McCormack, questions remain as to why information wasn't shared and monitoring wasn't sufficient to keep another child from being harmed, something Lago vows will not happen again.

"The police and the state's attorney are not used to sharing information with an employer or with the archdiocese in the case of a priest on an ongoing investigation, criminal or otherwise," Lago said. "But we have to find a way."

Lago told CBS 2's Jay Levine there are three major areas being discussed. One is how to share information between law enforcement and the archdiocese. The second is removing priests immediately, pending an investigation. The third is coming up with a more effective way to monitor those priests who have been removed already. The key, he emphasizes, is to protect children once charges come to light.

"In fact, DCFS has asked us not to do any investigating until they've looked into the case themselves," Lago said.

"So you have to find a way to remove that priest without investigating yourself?" Levine asked.

"That's right," Lago replied.

"Can it happen?" Levine asked.

"Well, I think it can happen, and we'll try to find a way to make it happen," Lago said.

Lago has long pushed hard-line, no compromise and zero tolerance with allegations of sexual misconduct.

But he's not always been successful convincing others more worried about balancing the letter of canon law versus the spirit of protecting children.

Now, hard lessons seem to have most finally following Lago's lead.


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