Lapses in US bishops' child safety policy

Washington - Auditors hired by US bishops to check child safety in Roman Catholic dioceses are warning of a drift away from parts of the church's 9-year-old abuse prevention plan.

The agency the bishops hired to conduct the annual review says 55 of 188 participating dioceses needed to make improvements or risk being out of compliance with the national policy. That's more than double the number criticised in 2009.

A companion survey of US dioceses finds the number of new abuse claims rose slightly to 428 last year. Most of the allegations were made by adults who said they had been molested decades ago as children.

Dioceses and their insurers paid nearly $124m in settlements and other abuse-related costs in 2010.

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