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Six dioceses join Boston archdiocese in implementing system to report bishop abuse

“In order for the Catholic Church to continue to restore trust and credibility, leadership must be committed to transparency and accountability,” church officials said in a statement.
“In order for the Catholic Church to continue to restore trust and credibility, leadership must be committed to transparency and accountability,” church officials said in a statement.(Dominic Chavez/Globe Staff/File 2008)

Dioceses in four New England states have joined the Boston archdiocese in implementing an independent third-party system to report allegations of abuse and misconduct by bishops, church officials announced Wednesday.

The bishops of the dioceses of Fall River; Worcester; Springfield; Burlington, Vt.; Manchester, N.H.; and Portland, Maine, have agreed to join the archdiocese in using EthicsPoint as a way to report allegations and complaints involving bishops, the officials said in a statement.

The EthicsPoint system is made by a company based in Oregon and allows people to report allegations of sexual abuse, negligence, and other misconduct through a website, www.Bishopreporting.ethicspoint.com, or by calling a toll-free hot line, 844-762-5208.

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“This confidential and independent system is designed exclusively for the reporting of the personal misconduct of a Cardinal, Bishop or Auxiliary Bishop of the dioceses in the Boston Province,” the EthicsPoint website states. “This may include allegations of sexual abuse, other criminal conduct, personal misconduct which is not criminal, or gross negligence in the function of their ministry. The system is independent from any of the Boston Province websites and intranets.”

At the June meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, a measure was approved to establish a third-party national reporting system for allegations involving bishops by May 31, 2020, officials said in the press release.

“With the understanding that the implementation of the national system is months away, the bishops of the Boston Province agreed to join a program already established by the Archdiocese of Boston through an independent EthicsPoint website,” church officials said in the statement.

“Those who were sexually abused by clergy, along with their families and loved ones, must always be the central focus of our ongoing response to the sexual abuse of minors,” church officials said. “There is no doubt that they have suffered greatly. In order for the Catholic Church to continue to restore trust and credibility, leadership must be committed to transparency and accountability. We hope and pray that this effort will further strengthen the work begun nearly two decades ago to offer healing.”

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Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.