Provisions of Church Abuse Settlement

By The Associated Press, carried in Foster's Sunday Citizen [New Hampshire]
Downloaded March 2, 2003

Highlights of settlement between the Diocese of Manchester and the New Hampshire Attorney General's office:

NO PROSECUTION: The state will not prosecute the diocese as an institution or any individuals for their past handling of sexual abuse allegations involving clergy. County attorneys still can pursue individual prosecutions.

REPORTING ABUSE: Priests and all other church workers must report suspected child abuse to authorities, regardless of whether the alleged victim still is a child or has been identified. Allegations revealed during confession will be exempt.

Once an allegation is reported, the diocese will cooperate with law enforcement and will provide all requested information and documents. Alleged abusers will be barred from contact with children.

TRAINING: The diocese will continue to develop policies to prevent, respond to and ensure the reporting of allegations of child sexual abuse. It will continue to provide a safety training program for all personnel who have contact with children.

ANNUAL AUDIT: The attorney general's office will audit the diocese yearly for the next five years to ensure compliance with the settlement. The diocese must keep all documents relating to sexual abuse allegations until the death of the accused.

DOCUMENT RELEASE: The attorney general's office will release thousands of personnel records and other documents, with the victims' names blacked out.

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