Catholic Church Exonerates Hart Despite Earlier Finding Of Credible Abuse Allegations

Wyoming Public Media

January 26, 2021

By Jeff Victor

This week, the Vatican concluded its own investigation of Wyoming Emeritus Bishop Joseph Hart, ruling that there was not enough evidence to find him guilty of the numerous allegations against him.

Hart led the Catholic Church in Wyoming for more than two decades, from the late 70s to 2001. Since retiring 20 years ago, he has been accused of child abuse by more than a dozen people both in Wyoming and his home state of Missouri.

One alleged victim died of complications from AIDS in 1989. The disease was brought on by years of drug abuse that the victim’s family attributes to the trauma he allegedly experienced at the hands of Father Hart.

In 2018, the Diocese of Cheyenne opened an investigation into the once celebrated bishop. A group of mainly non ordained members of the church with backgrounds in fields such as law enforcement and child psychology determined that at least six allegations against Hart were credible, according to a release from the Diocese.

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