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Catholic Whistleblowers Calls for Greater Accountability in Sex-Abuse Crisis

May 24, 2013

At a news conference at New York’s Cardozo Law School on Wednesday, eight members of Catholic Whistleblowers, a newly formed national network of clergy and nuns, called on the church to take a strong stand against child sexual-abusers within the clergy.

The group chose New York for its first public action because New York is home to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to Faith Watch, a news blog of the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal Sentinel. Among its goals, the group urged Dolan to use his influence to help remove Bishop John Myers, of Newark, New Jersey. Myers, the group said, has allowed a pedophile priest continued access to minors, despite an agreement with prosecutors.

In addition, Catholic Whistleblowers urged the bishops to support legislation in their states that would lift statutes of limitations on sex crimes against children. Within the church, the group called for policies to protect priests, nuns, and church employees who report child sex abuse or cover-ups to civil authorities, Faith Watch reports. Rev. James Connell of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, a founding member of Catholic Whistleblowers, said, “The church has made strides; thousands of people have been trained in how to spot and report sex abuse. But all of that has to do with the future.” Connell wants the church to address issues of justice and accountability for past abuses.

While Cardinal Dolan’s spokesperson would not comment on either Myers or statute-of-limitations legislation, he said in an email that the Archdiocese of New York has a longstanding policy of encouraging anyone with allegations of abuse to report them to civil authorities, according to Faith Watch.

Faith Watch reports that Catholic Whistleblowers came together last year with help from, a Boston-based nonprofit group that researches and publishes information about the Catholic church’s response to sexual abuse.

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