Columbus Diocese Task Force Examining Sexual Abuse Policies

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has taken steps to examine its policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors with the creation of a task force, and has hired a law firm to determine whether more names should be added to a list of credibly accused priests.

The diocese in the days before Bishop Robert Brennan’s installation last March released a list of 34 clergy members accused of sexual abuse. The list now includes 50 names.

Brennan said he wants to look at the issue of sexual abuse of minors by clergy with “new eyes,” The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“I need to know for my own conscience that I’m doing the best I can,” Brennan said.

In addition to examining policies, the task force has been looking at how the diocese reaches out to abuse survivors to help them heal.

A diocesan official said the task force will provide Brennan with a report outlining its recommendations this month.

Some question whether the diocese is best suited to help survivors.

“Most survivors don’t want to go back into the environment that caused their harm,” said attorney Konrad Kircher, who has represented victims of clergy abuse. ”It’s flawed in many ways.”

Columbus attorney Thomas Bonasera and his firm were hired in December to search diocesan files looking for other sexual abuse cases. Bonasera said a team of experts will “look at everything” to make sure nothing is missed.

“We’re familiar with all these kinds of investigations,” Bonasera said.

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