Bishop Accountability
 
 
    

Ten-Minute Activist: Brief Email or Phone Call
Ask Attorney General Tom Reilly to Open a Grand Jury Investigation into Possible Crimes against Children in the Springfield Diocese

Bishop Thomas Dupré of Springfield MA resigned abruptly last week after a newspaper published accusations that he had molested two boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Dupré had been under fire for years for his diocese’s financial support of Richard Lavigne, suspected murderer of a 13-year-old altar boy – but news that the bishop himself might have molested children deepened concerns about the extent to which he may have harbored and supported other predatory priests.

Victims and their advocates have called on Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly to open a grand-jury investigation into possible crimes against children by the priests and bishops of Springfield. Please call or send a brief email to Reilly’s office supporting this request.

How You Can Help

Contact the office of Tom Reilly, attorney general of Massachusetts.

Ask him to launch a grand jury investigation into sex abuse crimes against children by the diocese of Springfield

Consider also asking him to:
* Publish a written report of his findings, as he did on the Boston Archdiocese after a phone and email campaign urging him to do so.
* Release church files to the public, as was done by the New Hampshire AG, who also wrote a report.
* Not shy away from prosecuting Thomas Dupré and other diocesan officials. Many survivors and advocates believe that Reilly should have indicted Cardinal Law and other Boston archdiocesan officials. See Marci Hamilton on criminal charges.

* If you are a Massachusetts voter, please note that in your message, but your input is just as valuable if you are from out of state.

Contact Information

To reach Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly:

* Phone: (617) 727-2200 and press 0 to get the operator. Ask to be connected to the AG's office.
* Email: ago@ago.state.ma.us
* Web site: www.ago.state.ma.us
* Mail: 1 Ashburton Place, Boston MA 02108-1698
* Please let us know if you call or write.

Important Articles and Other Sources

* Bishop Dupré resigned one day after The Republican newspaper reported child sexual abuse allegations against him. See article on the accusation, and two articles on the resignation {1} {2}.

* Dupré kept convicted child molester Richard Lavigne on the payroll for years, though the diocese had known since the 1972 murder of 13-year-old Danny Croteau that local law enforcement believed that Lavigne was the killer. See the remarkable articles on Danny's murder and Fr. James Scahill's support of a Lavigne victim.

* In addition to taking care of Lavigne, Dupré set up a fund for priests charged with sexual misconduct (called the “felons’ fund” by a critic). He also approved a pitbull tactic in court against victims that no other Massachusetts diocese used. None of these practices was cited in the glowing report card the diocese received from the Gavin Group. In January 2004, the auditing group pronounced the diocese in full compliance with the USCCB Norms and Charter on clergy sexual abuse. See an overview of Dupré’s tenure and an article on the audit results.

* Whistle-blower Fr. James Scahill has protested Dupré’s support of Lavigne by withholding his parish’s six percent contribution to the diocese. He has also accused Dupré of saying that diocesan personnel files had been destroyed. See Scahill's deposition on the files and Dupré's response, and an important follow-up article on the Springfield documents.

* Fr. Bruce Teague also experienced Dupré’s protectiveness towards Lavigne. In 1997, when Teague saw the convicted child molester hanging around his church, volunteering to hear children’s confessions, he called the police. The diocese rebuked Teague for going outside the church and eventually forced him out of the parish.

* Statement by SNAP in response to the accusation against Dupré.

* Statement by SNAP in response to news that Fr. Scahill had tried to warn Boston Archbishop O’Malley about the allegations against Dupré.

Previous Ten-Minute Activist Features

* Bishop Admits That He Is Keeping an Accused Priest in Ministry (12/5/03)
* Audit the Audit: USCCB Audit Needs Local Perspectives (1/9-16/04)
* Join the Dialogue among NY Priests and Bishops (1/23/04)
* Statute of Limitations: Help Reform the Indiana Law (1/30/04)
* Accused Priests Are Saying Mass in Los Angeles Parishes (2/6/04)

     


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Original material copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
     
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