Archbishop Creates Sex Abuse Board
S.A. Archdiocese Releases Policy Manual [San Antonio TX]
June 27, 2003

SAN ANTONIO -- Responding to a wave of sex scandals and lawsuits, San Antonio Archbishop Patrick Flores announced Thursday the creation of a panel that will look into ways to improve sexual misconduct policies within the archdiocese.

The 11-member ecumenical review board, which includes a member of the Jewish community, business people and former lawmakers, will review policy and procedures on a monthly basis.

"I don't think it's just a Catholic issue," said Louise Belden, a board member who is member of the Jewish community. "I think it's a community issue."

Missing from the board is a sex-abuse victim or a victim's relative. Board members said they will consider making an invitation to such a person in the future.

The archdiocese also released a handbook of policies and procedures for combating sexual misconduct and how to respond to allegations.

The policy includes the changing of the wording of sexual abuse to sexual misconduct. It also calls for criminal background checks for clergy, laypeople, employees and certain volunteers in the San Antonio Archdiocese.

The creation of the board and the handbook was announced while the archdiocese continues to try and raise money to help pay for a $300,000 lawsuit settlement involving a woman who accused a San Antonio priest of having a sexual affair with her.

Flores, who made a public appeal for funds, said the archdiocese is starting to receive money from letters it sent out.


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