Catholics React to Bridgeport Diocese New Initiatives

KTNH [Bridgeport CT]
Downloaded June 9, 2003

(Bridgeport-WTNH, June 8, 2003 10:20 PM) _ Catholics are reacting to Bishop William Lori's new policies to prevent sex abuse in the church.

Yesterday the head of the Bridgeport Diocese announced that dozens of legal claims against pedophile priests could be settled by the end of the year.

We spoke with parishioners at mass this morning.

by News Channel 8's Leigh Frillici

"I think it is a good idea. I think there should always be guidelines," says one parishioner.

As mass let out at churches within the Bridgeport Diocese like Saint Augustines, parishioners left with some extra news inside their weekly bulletin.

A four page policy has been set up to prevent sexual misconduct within the church.

One of the changes is that all new employees and volunteers will have to undergo background checks to make sure they don't have a criminal record.

The policy also outlines new initiatives against sexual abuse on minors. In one paragraph, it graphically depicted what would be prohibited.

"In this day and age you have to be specific and they know that and it doesn't, there's no grey area and that is good."

We took the new policy to someone who has spoken out about being a victim of abuse in the Catholic church. Peggy Fry of Monroe says she was abused by a priest as a teenager. That priest has since handed in his resignation to Bishop William Lori.

Looking over the new initiatives, Fry was pleased, but felt the biggest challenge was enforcement.

"Nothing is worth the paper it is written on if it is not carried out, if there is not somebody that can enforce it," says Fry.

To make sure that this policy is carried out, the Bridgeport Diocese will have a safe environment office who will be responsible for making sure the policies are carried out and any allegations are handled properly.


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