Ray Duckler: After months of digging, investigators uncover church abuse, then turn up the heat

Concord Monitor

Monitor staff
Monday, December 28, 2015

When Will Delker and Jim Rosenberg of the attorney general’s office began sifting through pages from what they called the Secret Archives – two filing cabinet drawers filled with evidence of sexual abuse and cover-ups within the state’s Catholic church – they knew what they had to.

They had to find victims named in the documents and persuade them to come forward. Many had not uttered a word about their ordeal for decades, not to a sibling, a spouse, anyone.

The pattern mirrored the stories that emerged from Boston after the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team uncovered a scandal that later would sweep the nation. Priests had been molesting children and then receiving transfers rather than punishment, allowing the behavior to continue for years. Even after the abuse stopped, the trauma for the victims continued into adulthood.

“I grew up in this community, and I knew the meaningful and significant role the church played here, through school and elsewhere,” Rosenberg said in an interview. “But we were beginning to deal with victims who’d been terribly harmed and whose lives had been shaped or reshaped by sexual abuse at the hands of priests and compounded by the fact that the diocese didn’t react in real time at all. It was a very difficult and emotional balancing act for us.”

The lengthy, arduous investigation began in the summer of 2002, after Delker and Rosenberg had gone through the Secret Archives outside the office of Bishop John McCormack.

McCormack had transferred from the Boston Archdiocese to the Diocese of Manchester four years earlier, in 1998. His power as Boston’s auxiliary bishop made New Hampshire officials suspicious that he might have known about sexual abuse here and not said anything, as he had done earlier in his career.

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