Cheyenne prosecutor confirms priest abuse investigation in Casper DA’s hands

Star Tribune

Nov 25, 2019

By Seth Klamann

Natrona County’s top prosecutor was handed the criminal investigation involving retired Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart three months ago and was tasked with handling any prosecutions related to the case, the district attorney in Cheyenne confirmed last week in response to a Star-Tribune public records request.

“I don’t have the current investigation, so the 2019 case,” Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove said in a voicemail left for a reporter last week. “I have nothing. Because my office is not handling that case. All of that investigation, everything, the affidavit of probable cause … everything went to the district attorney in Casper, Dan Itzen.”

Manlove was responding to a public records request sent by the Star-Tribune last week to a number of law enforcement agencies that may have been involved in an investigation into retired Bishop Joseph Hart, who has faced repeated allegations that he sexually abuse boys throughout his 45-year career as a priest and bishop. The requests were specifically for any public records mentioning Hart.

The response by Manlove is the first direct confirmation that the criminal investigation involves the man who was once the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in Wyoming.

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