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Child protection audit results

WASHINGTON (CNS): Nearly 90 per cent of US Catholic dioceses were in compliance with the bishops’ national policy to protect children and respond to clergy sexual abuse of minors, according to the first national audit report released on January 6.

On most elements the report said 98 per cent to 100 per cent of audited dioceses were judged to be in compliance with the 17-article Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was adopted by the bishops in June 2002.

There were only two mandates on which compliance was lower than 98 per cent: Having comprehensive safe environment programs in place throughout the diocese (91 per cent), and conducting background checks on all Church employees and volunteers who work with minors (93 per cent).

Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville, Illinois, who is president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the report “indicates that the Catholic dioceses and eparchies (Eastern rite dioceses) of the United States have put a tremendous effort into making the charter very much a part of the life of the Church since the (June 2002) Dallas meeting”.

He noted in an introduction to the report that the audit process also uncovered areas not foreseen in Dallas.

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