Springfield Diocese investigating woman’s claim she was sexually abused by priest as a teen

The Republican

June 28, 2019

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is investigating an allegation of sexual misconduct against a deceased priest by a former Berkshire County resident that dates back to the early 1970s when the woman was a high school sophomore.

The allegation against the Rev. James D. McKenna was reported Thursday by the Berkshire Eagle, which quotes the woman, who now lives in Ohio, as alleging McKenna would get her drunk on a weekly basis and press her to engage in sexual activity that stopped short of intercourse in a parish rectory.

It quotes a letter the woman is said to have sent Bishop Mitchell Rozanski in September detailing the alleged abuse saying that the priest “would get me drunk until I could no longer fight back his advances. He is the reason I have been an alcoholic for a good part of my life.”

The woman is said to have received a response from Rozanski in October, thanking her, as reported by the Eagle, for “having the courage to write to me and share this painful experience with me” and urging her to contact the intake person at the time in the diocesan office for reporting claims of clergy sex abuse.

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