PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It was 15 years ago Friday, that the Boston Globe published a Pulitzer Prize winning investigation, that blew the doors open to the catholic clergy sex abuse crisis.
Since then, policies and procedures have been put into place to better protect children and prosecute those found guilty of abuse.
Hundreds of victims around the world have come forward after the report and this past week, Pope Francis reiterated to everyone that the church must have zero-tolerance for clergy who abuse children.
“We have a very strong child protection plan in place,” said Kevin O’Brien, Director of Compliance for the Diocese of Providence, adding their work is not done. “We’re not completely comfortable. Child protection is an ongoing process and we’re going to continue to do whatever it is we have to do to the utmost of our ability to eliminate any sexual abuse of minors by any member of our church.”
In the United States, more than 16,000 people have come forward to say they were abused by priests as children between 1950 and 2012.
There are still some pending cases in Rhode Island under investigation, though the public has become extra vigilant.
“I see calls frequently from people, coaches, and principals asking for advice and guidance on child protection issues,” said O’Brien.
Eyewitness News has also learned the Office of Compliance has to undergo an audit every year to make sure all cases are being handled correctly from start to finish.