U.S. Catholic bishops approve new national sex abuse reporting hotline

U.S. Catholic bishops approve new national sex abuse reporting hotline

U.S. Catholic bishops voted Wednesday to create a new national sex-abuse hotline run by an independent entity, a decision that represents one of the c

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U.S. Catholic bishops voted Wednesday to create a new national sex-abuse hotline run by an independent entity, a decision that represents one of the church’s most tangible steps yet in confronting its sex-abuse crisis.The hotline, which would field allegations that bishops committed abuse or covered it up, would take complaints by telephone and through an online link. It’s supposed to be operating within a year.Story continues below

Hotline operators would relay allegations to regional supervisory bishops. Church leaders are encouraging those bishops — though not requiring them — to seek help from lay experts in assessing and investigating allegations.READ MORE: U.S. Catholic bishops to meet amid mounting pressure to address sex abuse crisis“I can’t imagine a bishop not using a lay-led review board that’s filled with people who have expertise in this area of investigation, people with a legal background or a law enforcement background,” said Robert Barron, the auxiliary bishop of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.Bishops approved the idea on the second day of their national meeting. The new system’s startup costs were estimated at $30,000, with an ongoing annual cost of about $50,000.The bishops raised questions about how the system would operate, including who would receive the reports, how the reports would be handled, when authorities should be notified and how the church would ensure that victims are taken care of.WATCH: Pope Francis defends retaining French cardinal convicted of covering up sex abuse

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