Greenfield lawyer wants clergy abuse investigation

Daily Hampshire Gazette

August 28, 2018

By Diane Broncaccio

Greenfield lawyer John Stobierski, who has successfully litigated at least 80 cases of clergy sexual abuse, believes the Massachusetts attorney general’s office should investigate the Diocese of Springfield.

“My impression is that our attorney general needs to do an investigation of our area,” Stobierski said Friday. “Back in 2002, when the Boston Globe was reporting on clergy abuse, the attorney general did investigate Boston (diocese).” Despite Stobierski’s request, however, the attorney general refused to do an investigation on Springfield, Stobierski said.

“Our diocese is as ripe with that kind of activity as is Pennsylvania’s,” he said. “And, in our diocese, we’ve had an actual abuser leading the diocese and fighting our claims,” said Stobiersi, referring to the late bishop, Thomas Dupre, who was indicted on child rape charges in 2004.

Recently, a two-year grand jury investigation of sexual abuse allegations by Catholic clergy, and the systematic cover-up of such abuse, resulted in a 900-page report, listing 300 priests accused of abuse and 1,000 children victimized.

In Franklin County, one of the first major reports of clergy sexual abuse began with the 1991 arrest of then-priest Richard R. Lavigne, who pleaded guilty to molesting three boys at St. Joseph’s Parish, in 1992. Eventually, more claims were brought against Lavigne, with Stobierski representing many claimants.

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