One Iowa leader of the Catholic Church says his diocese hopes to go farther to ensure children are protected from sexual abuse. Jerome Hanus, Archbishop of the Dubuque Diocese, appointed a review board last year which issued recommendations last week that will take effect July first. Hanus says the diocese policy is more wide-ranging than state policy.Hanus says all church personnel, when they become aware of a suspected, alleged or known case of sexual abuse of a minor by church personnel, must report it to civil authorities. He says the rules essentially make priests and church officials mandatory reporters, even though they’re exempt according to state law. While lawyers, doctors, counselors and others are obligated to maintain confidentiality, Hanus says church officials will -not- be bound by rules to remain silent. Hanus says confidentiality is sometimes misunderstood as a coverup, so to remove that suspicion, when sexual abuse of a minor is involved, confidentiality will no longer be allowed to be an issue. He was asked if this new policy would bring about a breakdown in the relationship between priests and parishioners. The Dubuque diocese covers all or part of 32 eastern Iowa counties.
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