Bishops ask survivors of clergy sexual abuse to help develop prevention program

.- The U.S. bishops have launched a new survey in an effort to reach out to survivors of clergy sexual abuse and to develop “prevention programs to assure as much as is humanly possible that this crime never occurs again,” said Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse. The project has three goals: to provide victims/survivors of child sexual abuse a voice in helping others, to assist dioceses and eparchies in developing appropriate responses to victims/survivors of child sexual abuse, and to identify preventative measures of child sexual abuse.

Mary A. Lentz, an Ohio-based child abuse prevention consultant, was commissioned by the USCCB and its Office of Child and Youth Protection to conduct survey. It will be available from March 30 to May 4 at www.victim-outreach.com.

The survey is anonymous, as it does not ask participants to identify themselves, their abuser, or the abuser’s diocese or eparchy or religious community. The survey also insists that “Reports of abuse are to be made to law enforcement officials and officials of the diocese/eparchy where the abuse occurred.”

The survey results will be available at www.victim-outreach.org or on the USCCB Web site, www.usccb.org.

Lentz is an attorney who practices public law and school law as well as not-for-profit corporation law. She holds a juris doctor degree from Cleveland Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University, a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from Ursuline College in Cleveland.

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