Bishop Not Being Informed about More Sexual Abuse Allegations?

WWLP [Springfield MA]
Downloaded May 9, 2004

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS (WWLP) - This week we learned of another priest who'd worked in the Springfield diocese that has been accused of sexual abuse. But when exactly did the bishop learn of this accusation? The question comes up because almost a week after the review board decided there was a credible accusation against former priest John Russell, the bishop was still telling us he knew of no other accusations against priests that might be about to come out. And we wanted to know why he didn't know. According to the diocese, it was on April 22nd that the review board considered the complaint against the Reverend John Russell, decided it was credible and decided to inform Bishop McDonnell. So almost a week later, one might assume that bishop McDonnell would know of the allegation. But he apparently didn't when we asked him about it on his visit to Pittsfield on April 28th, six days later. So why, 6 days after the review board decided there was a new, credible allegation, and decided to inform the bishop, did the bishop still not know? Laura Faila Reilly, the victim advocate who works with the board, says there's an explanation. She says the church secretary was on vacation for a day, and then it was the weekend and the bishop probably only got a letter about the matter the day before our interview, and apparently hadn't gotten to it. But last week she says he asked to be informed earlier. And that's because former bishop Thomas Dupre didn't want to know about cases until late in the process. Bishop McDonnell now wants to know early, but we don't know if this case had anything to do with that.


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