ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s been ten years now since America’s Roman Catholic bishops met in Dallas to draw up their first national charter to deal with sexual abuse by clergy. So, is the bishop’s zero tolerance plan working, one decade later?
The director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the St. Louis Archdiocese — Deacon Phil Hengen — says the charter has had an incredible impact in protecting kids.
“We are now screening every adult who has any kind of contact with children; regular contact that would include, bishops, priests, deacons, teachers, volunteers, parents who volunteer who are assistant soccer coaches, so that’s been an enormous effort that’s been very successful in the past ten years, nationally and locally.”
But clergy abuse survivors strongly disagree — and are calling on America’s bishops — meeting this week in Atlanta — to totally scrap and revamp the charter — and this time include tough penalties for church officials who ignore, conceal or enable child sex crimes.