Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, announced yesterday that the Catholic Church in England and Wales will establish a review body to deal with the problem of clergy sexual abuse.
    The body will look at current child protection and abuse prevention practice and make recommendations. Membership will include one bishop, as well as independent experts including a member of the police, the judiciary, and a psychiatrist.
    It will use as its foundation the existing guidelines published by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in 1994. It will assess the effectiveness of these guidelines, which recommended that all allegations of abuse should be referred to the police. It will avoid investigating and commenting upon particular cases.
    In the five year period 1995-99 inclusive, 21 Catholic priests in England and Wales were convicted of sexual offences against children.
    The Archbishop was criticised in July over the case of Fr Michael Hill. He said he "regretted exceedingly" that Hill re-offended. Hill was released last week.
CMO (England & Wales)
13 Sep 00

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