WASHINGTON (May 29, 2003) -— An audit of diocesan policies dealing with the problem of sexual abuse of children and young people by clergy will begin in June.
The audit will be conducted by the Gavin Group of Boston, headed by William Gavin, an experienced compliance auditor formally with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, overwhelmingly adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at it meeting in Dallas last June, established an Office for Child and Youth Protection. One of the duties of this office is to produce "an annual public report on the progress made in implementing the standards in this Charter."
Furthermore, "This public report shall include the names of those dioceses/eparchies which, in the judgment of this Office, are not in compliance with the provisions and expectations of this Charter."
To facilitate an audit of the 195 Catholic dioceses and eparchies (dioceses of the Eastern Catholic Church) in the United States, the USCCB has engaged the Gavin Group as consultants.
Over fifty auditors were trained May 19-22 to do on-site audits of the compliance of dioceses with the standards of the Charter. The auditors will operate in teams of two, and no auditor will be permitted to audit his own diocese if he or she is a Catholic. The audit does not include an evaluation of the dioceses' pre-Charter policies or actions.
The plan is to audit approximately eleven dioceses a week between late June and late October. The reports will be forwarded to the Office for Child and Youth Protection, headed by Kathleen McChesney, which will begin drawing up the overall report.
As also specified by the Charter, the National Review Board, a group of thirteen lay persons, "appointed by the Conference President," Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, "and reporting directly to him, will approve the annual report of the implementation of this Charter in each of our dioceses/eparchies, as well as any recommendations that emerge from this review before the report is submitted to the President of the Conference and published."
The completion of the report and it submission to the National Review Board for its approval are scheduled for the first part of December.