Presbyterians and Catholic bishops act on sex abuse policies

Shifting concern from the accused to the accusers
Presbyterians have officially approved 11 new policies on clergy sexual abuse, marking a shift, church leaders say, from focusing on the accused to protecting innocent victims.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved the 11 amendments to its constitution last summer, but to become church law the reforms needed to be ratified by a majority of the church’s 173 regional bodies, called presbyteries.

As of June 8 at least 120 presbyteries have approved the amendments, and they became church law on July 3, according to Presbyterian News Service.

“Out of fear of possible damage to those accused, our system has, at times, not allowed justice to be pursued for victims and survivors of abuse,” said Paul Masquelier, the chairman of a task force that drafted the amendments.


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