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Detroit Archbishop supports new measures to combat abuse in Catholic church

Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron
Courtesy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit

Detroit's Catholic Archdiocese says it will implement new standards for reporting and dealing with sexual misconduct allegations within the church. That's after U.S. bishops approved the changes this week.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says people will be able to report concerns by phone and online to a third-party.

Bishops approved three measures to address abuse and bishop accountability during their annual Spring General Assembly in Baltimore, the third being the third-party reporting system. The other two measures outline protocols for imposing limitations on former bishops who were removed from office for grave reasons, and the implementation of  a bishop code of conduct.

Tim Lennon is the President of The Survivors Network of those abused by Priests. He says all reports of abuse should go directly to police.

"There's no mandate requiring this new bureaucratic form to inform law enforcement of sexual abuse, so we feel that this is contrary to the interests of people who have been abused," Lennon says.

Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron says he is committed to transparency and accountability for all. In a statement he urged people with knowledge of abuse or misconduct to contact law enforcement.

"We've seen in the past that the church has not provided full disclose of how wide spread sexual abuse is," Lennon said. "And so, we need to rely on our attorney generals and district attorneys to do their jobs and protect the community."

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says it's committed to creating a third-party system to report abuse by May 31, 2020.

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