Friday, May 16, 2003

Bishop's Review Board to send auditors to every diocese

The National Review Board, a panel of lay Catholics headed by former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, has contracted with a firm headed by William A. Gavin, a former assistant director of the FBI, to audit all 195 dioceses by the end of the year, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said yesterday.

Gavin is the fourth former FBI official named to a key role in the church's response to the scandal. Keating, who is himself a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, acknowledged that there have been some rumblings of discontent among bishops over the board's approach.

"We concluded that to reassure the Catholic lay community, it was important first and foremost to identify this conduct as criminal -- and to send that message with FBI agents at the top, the bottom and the middle of this probe," he said. "If that's hard-edged, so be it."