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Sex-Abuse Monitors Get to Work Quickly

September 21, 2002|From Times Wire Services

OKLAHOMA CITY--Led by Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, the lay board monitoring how Roman Catholic bishops comply with the church's new sex-abuse policy showed critics and doubters this week that it plans to be much more than a token group.

The National Review Board met for just the second time but was already in a hurry to perform its duties.

It decided, for instance, that, in a matter of weeks, it will release the names of any U.S. bishops who are not in compliance with the clean-up policy the nation's Catholic hierarchy passed in June. The board was not required to do that for another year or more.

It also asked victims' organizations for their input on which bishops are not living up to the abuse policy, which calls for any priest who molests minors to be removed from church work.

It dispatched an urgent request that leaders of men's religious orders change course and follow the bishops' plan.

"Time is of the essence here," Keating said in an interview. His position is that the church has been badly damaged by the waves of scandals, and the board's repair work needs to begin immediately.

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