Report of sexual abuse by late bishop filed with Hampden Count DA

Berkshire Eagle

June 21, 2019

By Larry Parnass

Christopher J. Weldon, a longtime Catholic bishop for the Springfield Diocese, now stands formally accused of sexually abusing an altar boy.

Three weeks after denying that it had received a credible accusation against Weldon of molestation, the diocese Thursday filed an initial report of a claim of such abuse with the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office.

That step came after the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, the current bishop, heard directly that day from a Chicopee man who says Weldon was one of several clergy in the Springfield Diocese who sexually abused him in the early 1960s, when he was 9 or 10.

By speaking Thursday with the alleged victim, Rozanski was able to reset the clock for the diocese in terms of this man and to comply with a request by District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni that allegations be forwarded to his office.

“My impression was that the bishop `got it,’ ” the man said in a statement of his meeting with Rozanski. The alleged victim, now in his late 60s, presented his story during a two-hour meeting held at his request.

Meantime, a spokeswoman for Mercy Medical Center in Springfield would not say Friday whether allegations against Weldon have led officials to rethink use of the former bishop’s name.

The medical center oversees operations of the Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital at 175 Carew St. in Springfield. It is named for the bishop who oversaw the diocese, which includes Berkshire County, from 1950 to 1977. Weldon died in 1982.

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