BALTIMORE (WJZ) — U.S. Catholic Bishops voted Wednesday to create a new national sex-abuse hotline run by an independent entity, a decision that represents one of the church’s most tangible steps yet in confronting its sex-abuse crisis.

“If you need to call the civil authorities, call the civil authorities,” Arlington, Virginia, Bishop Michael Burbidge said. “If you need to call the Metropolitan with concern, call the Metropolitan. The third-party system will be another way that you can do that.”

The conference in Baltimore is amid another sex scandal that broke last year in Pennsylvania where a grand jury report charged 300 priests with more than 1,000 sexual assaults over 50 years.

Wednesday afternoon calls for reform rang loud outside, including a group headed by a former priest. He is calling on the attorney general to open a federal investigation into the church’s sexual abuse cover-ups and financial practices.

“It’s these bishops who are just corrupt to the core. They are now going to argue today about reporting crimes. They still want to police themselves,” said former priest Robert Hoatson.

Just last week, Baltimore’s Archbishop Lori acknowledged a mistake in not revealing $7,500 in gifts he received from then-West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield after a Washington Post report surfaced.

Bransfield spent church money on chartered flights, $182,000 on fresh flowers, and $1,000 a month on liquor.

“It is a mess and it is not stopping,” Hoatson said.

Bransfield is also accused of sexually harassing young priests, in some cases inappropriately touching them.

“This is a very criminal organization in many, many ways. Especially in the hierarchy,” Hoatson said.

Bishops inside the conference addressed the calls for reform.

Protests continued throughout Wednesday outside the Marriott from survivors of church sexual abuse.

Survivors network invited Cardinal Daniel Dinardo and other bishops to hear their stories on Wednesday night, but none showed up.

The conference continues through Friday at Harbor East.

Paul Gessler

Comments (2)
  1. Tickedoff Person says:

    A phone number to the abyss……………..

  2. Brian J Dowling says:

    Please investigate and prosecute Bishop John Barris of Rockville centre for the crimes he was named committing by the Pennsylvania Attorney General covering up for pedophile priests in his former diocese of Allentown Pennsylvania. And now here on Long Island as Bishop of Rockville Centre one of the largest diocese in the country he refuses to cooperate with the New York State Attorney General and release the names from the diocese all of the known reported pedophile priests here. all the other diocese in the state of New York are cooperating with the attorney general with the exception of Bishop barres here in Rockville Centre. He even went as far as when the report came out from Pennsylvania last August he Altar Boys and choir boys in churches all over Long Island that following weekend read his denial of any wrongdoing in Pennsylvania on his part. There were a few good pastors that refused to cooperate with this directive from Bishop barres. He is also from the two states that were reported last week as spending over 5 million dollars on lobbyists fighting not to change the statute of limitation laws for reporting of sexual abuse crimes. Do people understand that this not only affects victims of sexual abuse committed by clergy but all sexual abuse victims no matter who the perpetrator was. We the People of Long Island in the Diocese of Rockville Centre deserve better We suffered through 15 years of Bishop William Murphy probably in the top 5 corrupt Bishop’s of all time in the United States.. The now retired Bishop Murphy resides here on Long Island living in the 2 million dollar mansion He had built living a life of luxury and spends his time sitting in bars rather than behind bars where he belongs. Please help us

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