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Abuse standards updated.

LA CROSSE, WIS. * The La Crosse diocese updated its child abuse policies Nov. 4, broadening the standard of proof it uses in preliminary investigations of sex abuse.

Now when looking at allegations of child sexual abuse, the diocese will use "sufficiently confirmed" as its standard of proof instead of "moral certitude."

Questions about the diocese's standard of proof arose in June 2010 when Fr. James Connell--a pastor in the Milwaukee archdiocese, vice chancellor, a canon lawyer and a member of the arch-diocesan review board--reviewed La Crosse's abuse policy to prepare for meeting with Jerome Listecki, who was leaving La Crosse to become archbishop of Milwaukee.

Connell found that instead of using canon law's "semblance of truth," the La Crosse diocese was using "moral certitude." It was, he said in an open letter last year, a violation of the Essential Norms drafted by the U.S. bishops, and could be putting children at risk. Connell told NCR that the announced change answered his concern.

When Bishop William Callahan was installed in La Crosse in August 2010, he pledged to review diocesan policies, a diocesan spokesman said.

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Title Annotation:US BRIEFS
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U3WI
Date:Dec 23, 2011
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