Thursday, July 14, 2011

Child Protection Policies

I just wanted to reproduce this item from Bishop Taylor of Little Rock. In brief, the diocese got a report that a guy was threatening a priest because he thought the priest had molested his child. From the looks of things, the accused priest is innocent. Yes, world, sometimes the priest is innocent.

However, there are multiple complications since now the child is missing and the parent doing the threatening can't be found even though they are apparently still coming after the priest. Now, the priest has been sent away for his protection, and nobody knows if the child is safe or not.

Two things here. First, the accused priest is public knowledge. This is bad because it will taint him in some people's eyes forever. I've been involved in investigating allegations like this. No matter how much evidence exonerates the accused, the claim never really goes away. Second, no policies are perfect. When people start clamoring about a failure of policy to keep something from happening or make reporting easier, they need to recall that every policy will fail at some point. Just because a policy fails doesn't make it a bad one.

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