New Hampshire Church-State Agreement Criticized

Lawyers representing Tennessee Catholics are considering a legal challenge to void an agreement reached between New Hampshire Catholics and the state attorney general's office over the handling of sexual abuse allegations.

The agreement provides that the attorney general's office will audit the Catholic diocese annually and report on how the church has responded to charges of sexual abuse.

The agreement did not sit well with some Catholics in other parts of the country. The Associated Press reported May 9 that some Tennessee lawyers have contacted New Hampshire Catholics about filing a lawsuit challenging parts of the agreement that would give the New Hampshire attorney general oversight of the church.

"We may be 1,000 miles away, but it's the same church," Ted Carey, one of the lawyers told the AP. "We think an agreement of this sort might serve as a model for somewhere else. We think it's unconstitutional, and we would not want to see it replicated anywhere else."