It is not often that I agree with the Catholic Church on issues having to do with child sexual abuse. However, I recently read a New York Times article that gave me pause. The Catholic Church may actually be earning my (cautious) admiration and respect on this issue. Late last year, Pope Francis finally showed a commitment on the part of the Catholic Church to responsibly address its well-publicized child sexual abuse problem. Pope Francis appointed an eight-person commission to address the problem, and to formulate policy for the Church. The commission is made up of lay people including a mental health professional, a Church lawyer, a morality expert, and a former victim of child sexual abuse by a Priest. Half of the commission members are female. The commission is a significant departure for the Catholic Church, which for hundreds of years denied the existence of a sexual abuse problem, refused on most occasions to cooperate with criminal investigations, and largely shielded priests from any consequence for their abuse activities. The commissions work has just begun, but the goal is for the commission to issue a set of “best practices” that are independent of church doctrine, serve to protect children, demonstrate concern and care for the welfare of child sexual abuse victims, and ensure that priests and other church employees are held responsible for their actions. As a Florida child sexual abuse attorney, I am encouraged by the church’s recent actions. Hopefully the incidence of abuse in the Church will soon disappear. If you have any questions regarding a Florida child sexual abuse claim, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...Read More »
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