Secular Accountability

Room For Debate addresses the question of how the Church should respond to the crisis. Here's David Clohessy:

[C]onsidering the fact that only two or three bishops, out of 5,000 worldwide, have resigned for covering up predator priests, it’s clear that church laws and courts are ineffective in doling out punishment. ... Thus lawsuits, settlements and news media coverage don’t deter recklessness, callousness and deceit by bishops. The Vatican should order bishops to turn over priest personnel files to law enforcement. It should beg secular officials to launch investigations and prod lawmakers to reform archaic, predator-friendly laws (like statutes of limitations).

Nicholas P. Cafardi advises along the same lines:

[A]llow an investigation by a non-clerical panel, and cooperate with that investigation. That is what the American bishops did when they established the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth, composed of lay people. The bishops cooperated with the review board and the John Jay College of Criminal Law, whom the board engaged to study the crisis. When the investigation is over, publish the results and apologize again. Transparency is critical to repairing this crisis.