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New Bills Introduced, Bishop Speaks on Pedophilia

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The recent controversy in the Catholic Church over the sexual abuse of children by priests is prompting the introduction of several bills in the New York State Legislature.

One bill in the state Senate would add clergy to a list of professions in New York that are required to report incidents of suspected child abuse. The list already includes doctors, nurses, teachers and daycare workers.

Another bill would require clergy to report allegations of sexual abuse of children that date back 20 years.

"In our conversations with sponsors, we've urged them to act in the best interest of children as we move forward," said Dennis Poust of the New York State Catholic Conference. "We're reviewing the bills, but we will not be commenting on the specifics of any of them."

Sunday, Bishop Henry Mansell of Buffalo's Catholic Diocese addressed the issue during his Palm Sunday Mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral downtown.

"Sexual abuse of children is despicable, repugnant, deploravble and a grievous sin," Mansell said. "And it is a crime."

But Mansell is standing by his previous statement that he would not reveal the names of priests accused of sexual abuse. He did say he is not aware of any such allegations in the Buffalo diocese in recent years.

The Bishop will outline the diocese's policy on priests accused of sexual abuse in an article that will be published in the April issue of the Western New York Catholic newspaper.