The American Bishops have chosen the highest ranking woman in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to head their new Office of Child and Youth Protection. Kathleen McChesney will take up a similar role in America to that of Eileen Shearer at COPCA in the UK. The American Conference of Catholic Bishops set up the agency in June in the wake of a series of sex abuse scandals and accusations that have rocked the church there. "Even one case of child abuse is intolerable. Our churches need to be safe havens for everyone," Ms McChesney said at a press conference announcing her appointment. She added: "I believe that the Catholic Church has suffered because of the actions of a few." Ms McChesney said the establishment of the office indicated a firm commitment from the Catholic Church to eradicate abuse, adding that a large number of people would be involved in the process. Mgr William P Fay, general secretary to the bishop's conference, said that spending on the review board, protection office and new abuse policy would exceed $1m next year. Ms McChesney's role will not be restricted to monitoring, but will include crime prevention, the bishop's conference said. She will also help individual dioceses "in the implementation of 'safe environment' programmes", as well as preparing a public annual report on the issue. A life-long Catholic, Ms McChesney is the third most senior official in the FBI and the highest ranking woman. As the FBI's Executive Assistant Director for Law Enforcement, Ms McChesney was responsible for liaison with the country's 18,000 law enforcement agencies and bureau operations in 44 countries. She was also in charge of the bureau's laboratory and training as well as the Critical Response Group, which includes hostage rescue teams and criminal profilers. Ms McChesney has risen up through the ranks of law enforcement in the course of a 31-year career, which she began with the county police near Seattle before joining the FBI in 1978. FBI Director Mueller said Ms McChesney "has distinguished herself and made important contributions as an innovator and leader in the law enforcement community". Ms McChesney was chosen from more than 40 candidates. Groups supporting the victims of abuse have welcomed her appointment. She starts her new post on 2 December.
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