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State's dioceses address scandals, policies for reporting abuse

Some Catholic dioceses in Wisconsin are addressing the issue of priest sex abuse in light of recent scandals involving the Catholic Church. Recently-revealed church documents have shown that church officials were more concerned with scandal than ...

Some Catholic dioceses in Wisconsin are addressing the issue of priest sex abuse in light of recent scandals involving the Catholic Church.

Recently-revealed church documents have shown that church officials were more concerned with scandal than child safety in the case of Father Lawrence Murphy, who molested 200 deaf boys.

Brent King, communications director for the Madison Catholic Diocese, says the biggest problem the Catholic Church has created for itself in recent history is its unwillingness to be open and talk about instances of abuse. He apologized to all victims as a representative of the local church, and repeated Bishop Robert Morlino's remarks that such apologies might not ever be accepted and that the rash of scandals have driven people away.

"We want to reach out and try to reconcile people with the church, but also keep any would-be abusers from ever abusing again and to put policies and procedures in place to keep that from ever happening," added King.

King says no revisions to their policies regarding sex abuse have been made in light of the recent scandal. However, the La Crosse Diocese did change its sex abuse policy earlier this year to recommend accusers notify civil authorities in addition to the Diocese, after local authorities filed charges against a priest alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman he was counseling for divorce.

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Meanwhile, the Diocese of Green Bay has released a statement saying that their policy is to report all credible allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy to proper authorities.

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