Vatican exonerates former Wyoming bishop on some allegations, still delivers rebuke

Casper Star-Tribune

January 25, 2021

By Joshua Wolfson and Brandon Foster

An investigation by the Vatican has exonerated retired Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations tied to the sexual abuse of juveniles while determining five other allegations “could not be proven with moral certitude,” the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne announced Monday.

At the same time, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued a canonical rebuke to Hart “for his flagrant lack of prudence as a priest and bishop for being alone with minors in his private residence and on various trips, which could have been potential occasions endangering the ‘obligation to observe continence’ and that would ‘give rise to scandal among the faithful,’” the diocese stated in a news release.

He was also rebuked “for his disregard of the urgent requests that he refrain from public engagements that would cause scandal among the faithful due to the numerous accusations against him and the civil and canonical investigations and processes being conducted in his regard.”

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