Bishop, DAs sign sex crimes agreement

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District Attorneys across the region have come to an agreement with the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese that states specific requirements on reporting sexual abuse.

Broome County District Attorney Jerry Mollen was joined by DA’s that serve seven other counties within the Diocese of Syracuse to discuss details of the memorandum.

The agreement states that any complaint regarding abuse to minors must be reported to the appropriate DA’s office.

It also says that the Diocese will cooperate with the DA’s office and will not conduct its own investigation.

Bishop Robert Cunningham said abusers will be held accountable for their actions.

“Today’s a great step forward to further collective efforts to eradicate this issue and to keep our children safe. I thank the area district attorneys for their help and we hope our combined efforts will provide even more protection for our young people,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham said a verbal agreement was reached 12 years ago, but he and the district attorneys wanted a deal in writing.

Broome County District Attorney Jerry Mollen said times have changed in regards to the Diocese’s cooperation.

“This memorandum, we feel proud of. We’ve reached agreement on it. The bishop has been fully supportive of it. Are things different than they were now? Of course,” said Mollen.

Last year, former Binghamton priest, Father Robert Ours, was sentenced to ten years of probation for a child pornography charge, a case that was instigated by the Catholic Church.

The Syracuse Diocese covers seven counties, Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Oneida, Madison and Oswego counties.

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