PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The church sex abuse scandal brings a new voice reacting to the decision of the archdiocese to place 21 priests on leave. A member of the church’s review board investigating priest abuse allegations speaks out.
“Those of us who are on the review board take our child protection responsibility extremely seriously,” said Anne Shenberger, speaking exclusively with eyewitness news.
Shenberger, now in her second term on the board that reviews allegations of abuse by priests, was disturbed when she saw names of the 21 priests put on administrative leave. Seven of the 21 had been reviewed by her board and the priests were left in active ministry.
“We could not, based on the information that we had, substantiate the allegations. Of those seven, two of them we felt safety plans were needed,” she said.
Meaning they needed closer oversight by superiors, but it is the other 14 that raised red flag of concern, those allegations had never come before the board. The archdiocese tells eyewitness news that is because the complaints didn’t meet the criteria set by the U.S. Conference of Bishops that warranted board review.
“We believe that as a review board the process should be transparent. That the allegations should be listed and we should know what they are,” said Shenberger.
In a letter to the cardinal, the board has recommended that it looks at all allegations against priests and the archdiocese is currently considering that expanded mission.
“Our concern was that the public not think that we had walked away from situations where children were potentially at risk of abuse or neglect because we would not do that.”
Reported by Pat Ciarrocchi, CBS 3