Mobile Archdiocese Opens Sexual Abuse Helpline

The Associated Press, carried in [Mobile AL]
April 30, 2003

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- Victims of sexual abuse by priests or other church employees in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile can report the crimes to a telephone number that will be answered by counselors.

The sexual abuse helpline -- 1-800-856-4184 -- was announced Wednesday by the archdiocese in response to a criminal investigation involving several priests and a former Catholic high school teacher.

The phone will be answered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m., the archdiocese said in a statement.

Victims who wish to remain anonymous will be allowed that protection. Allegations will be reported to authorities and if there's sufficient cause, the priest or church employee will be either fired or placed on administrative leave pending results of an investigation.

The accused will be immediately told of the accusations and given an opportunity to respond.

Counseling, pastoral care and other assistance will be provided to victims.

The archdiocese covers 28 counties from Montgomery to Mobile.


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