Sex Abuse Rules Not Enough

May 17, 2011

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A London-based lawyer representing victims of sex abuse by clergy members says new guidelines for preventing abuse are too little too late.

“It’s noise. It’s static. It doesn’t do anything to alter that discretionary medieval authority of the bishop and his diocese,” says Rob Talach, of Ledroit-Beckett. “You get a good bishop, yes you might get some things done. You get a bad bishop, you’re going to have problems.”

Talach says his firm has identified 22 priests in the Diocese of London who’ve been charged, convicted or sued for sex abuse.

Spokesperson Mark Adkinson says the diocese is already meeting or exceeding the suggestions handed down from the Vatican. “We’ve got our safe environment policy. Something called the two deep rule, so if an employee of the diocese is meeting with a minor or vulnerable person, there has to be another adult in the room. All of the meeting spaces have to have some type of clear glass opening so there’s that level of transparency,” he says.

Adkinson says some of the suggestions are binding through Canon Law. All dioceses are required to have their own guidelines in place by May of next year.

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