American bishops draw up draft child protection strategy

 The United States Conference of Bishops have drawn up their initial child protection plans in preparation for their meeting in Dallas next week (13-15 June). Among their recommendations, the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse says that any priest who sexually abused a child in future should be defrocked. Anyone who molested a child in the past might continue in the ministry under certain conditions. Under the plan, priests who victimised more than one child in the past would also be removed and all such violations would have to be reported to authorities. The committee's plan contains apologies to victims and stresses the bishops' commitment to reform. "The sexual abuse of children and young people by some priests and bishops, and the ways in which these crimes and sins were too often dealt with by bishops, have caused enormous pain, anger and confusion," the report says. "We are profoundly sorry for the times when we have deepened its pain by what we have done or by what we have failed to do." A senior Vatican official said the Vatican will not be commenting on the committee's draft recommendations, as it will await decisions by the full bishops assembly at the Dallas meeting. To read the full draft report visit: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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