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Religion | IN BRIEF

Victims Advocacy Group Gets Seat on Crisis Board

February 08, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

METUCHEN, N.J. — The local diocese will put a member of a prominent national group that advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse on its crisis review board, becoming the first Roman Catholic diocese to do so.

"This is a major, although belated, breakthrough," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, the organization that will provide a member for the review board.

Only a small minority of the 194 Roman Catholic dioceses throughout the country have victims on their crisis teams, Clohessy said, adding that "in the small number that do, they were handpicked by the church to have the most positive attitude toward the church."

Bishop Paul Bootkoski said his decision to appoint a SNAP member is part of his commitment to do "everything humanly possible to protect our children's safety and to restore, reaffirm and renew trust in our priests."

The boards, picked by each bishop, are supposed to independently review and assess the credibility of sex accusations made against priests.

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