Diocese Sends its Report on Dupre to Vatican

The Associated Press, carried in Herald-Tribune [Springfield]
Downloaded March 3, 2004

Church officials' investigation into claims by two men that they were sexually abused by retired Bishop Thomas Dupre was sent to the Vatican on Tuesday, a spokesman for the diocese said.

Investigators from the Springfield Diocese and Boston Archdiocese completed interviews with the two men this weekend, according to the spokesman, Mark Dupont.

One man spoke with investigators in person, while the second spoke with them from the West Coast by phone, according to their attorney, Roderick MacLeish Jr.

Both alleged victims say Dupre abused them repeatedly while a parish priest, beginning in the 1970s.

Dupont said the diocese would not release any details of the report.

"It was a fact-finding report," Dupont said. "(The Vatican) didn't ask us to express or demonstrate any degree of verifying the information. They said they just wanted the information."

The investigators' notes have also been provided to Hampden District Attorney William Bennett, who is investigating possible criminal charges, Dupont said.

Bennett declined to comment on his investigation.

Copies of the report will also be provided to a lay board established by the diocese to investigate allegations against clergy. However, officials said, it's unclear what action the board could take as decisions on disciplining a bishop rest with the Vatican.

Dupre, 70, stepped down Feb. 11, citing health reasons. His retirement was approved the Vatican a day after The Republican newspaper of Springfield presented Dupre with the abuse allegations.

Dupre's lawyer has refused to comment on the men's claims.


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