Cheyenne Diocese: Abuse allegations against retired bishop ‘credible’

National Catholic Reporter

July 3, 2018

by Brian Roewe

Joseph Hart, restricted from ministry, served as bishop from 1976-2001

A recent investigation by the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, found that allegations of sexual abuse of minors against retired Bishop Joseph Hart are “credible and require disciplinary action,” challenging a past inquiry by a local district attorney that has now been called “flawed.”

Hart, who served as Cheyenne bishop from 1976 to 2001, has been restricted from public ministry since September 2015. He has faced allegations of sexual abuse dating back to his time as a priest (1956-1976) in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, Diocese.

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The ministerial restrictions will remain in place, said Cheyenne Bishop Steven Biegler, 59, following an outside investigator’s report that concluded Hart, 86, as bishop had sexually abused two boys in Wyoming.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our children. We have zero tolerance for sexual abuse of any kind,” Biegler said in a statement issued Monday. “If there is ever any indication of abuse brought to our attention, it will be reported to the civil authorities and investigated thoroughly, even when the allegations involve a Bishop.”

Hart has repeatedly denied all accusations of sexual abuse of minors.

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