Is there a model diocese in the U.S. when it comes to handling these tragedies?

Is there a model diocese in the U.S. when it comes to handling these tragedies?

The Post ran an article in its coverage that praised the Belleville Diocese for being much more open and decisive than the St. Louis Archdiocese in dealing with cases of sexual abuse by priests. Does SNAP find this to be true? Is there a model diocese in the U.S. when it comes to handling these tragedies?

A:

The Belleville diocese is far from ideal, from the perspective of most survivors. Yet compared with others, it has been slightly more aggressive in removing abusers. In the early to mid 90s, it removed more than 10% of its priests because of abuse allegations. Each time, it was publicly announced. And only one, Fr. Daniel Friedman, was restored to ministry. (Sadly, he has since been sued for abusing a woman during counseling sessions.)

(Although the St. Louis Archdiocese is five times larger, during that same time span, no priest on this side of the river was voluntarily removed by archdiocesan officials because of abuse allegations, unless a lawsuit was filed and publicized.)

Sadly, there is no "model" diocese that we've seen. Some have more thorough and enlightened formal abuse policies than others. But these documents are virtually useless and have little or no bearing on how survivors or offenders are actually dealt with day to day.

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