June 27, 2020
By Jeffrey Trant – Director, Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, Diocese of Springfield
Springfield – On Wednesday, June 24, the Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Springfield, announced that he accepted the finding of credibility by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis’ independent investigation concerning allegations of sexual abuse against the late Christopher J. Weldon, former bishop of Springfield.
On behalf of the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance for the Diocese of Springfield, I would like to publicly recognize the strength and resilience of the survivor who continued to pursue justice and truth since first reporting his abuse to diocesan officials in 2014.
As Archbishop-designate Rozanski noted Wednesday, “In almost every instance we failed this courageous man who nonetheless persevered thanks in part to a reliable support network as well as a deep desire for a just response to the terrible abuse he endured.”
As a result of the investigation, Archbishop-designate Rozanski took the following steps: (1) directed that Trinity Health remove the former bishop’s name from its rehab facilities; (2) communicated to the diocesan cemeteries office to make the necessary plans to remove the former bishop’s remains to a less prominent location marked with a simple gravestone; (3) instructed all Catholic facilities to immediately remove honorable mentions, references, memorials and pictures of the former bishop; and (4) ordered that his name be placed on our diocesan website listing all those with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult. Truly, it was through the continued advocacy by survivors of clergy sexual abuse and ongoing support from the survivor community that this unfortunate matter finally reached a conclusion.
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