Wyoming A.G. won’t charge retired bishop accused of abuse

Denver Gazette via trib.com

January 29, 2021

By Seth Klamann

The Wyoming attorney general has decided against charging retired bishop Joseph Hart, effectively ending law enforcement and victims’ efforts to hold accountable a top Catholic cleric facing decades of sexual abuse allegations.

A spokeswoman for the Cheyenne Police Department, which launched the sexual abuse investigation into Joseph Hart in April 2018, said in an email that Attorney General Bridget Hill would not be pursuing charges. Cheyenne Police brought the case to Hill’s office in July, after prosecutors elsewhere in Wyoming also declined to charge the retired bishop. Police had interviewed several alleged victims or their family members. The attorney general’s prospective role has not previously been revealed.

Hart, who as bishop led the Catholic flock in Wyoming from 1978 to 2001, has been accused of sexual abuse by more than a dozen men. Dioceses in Wyoming and Missouri, where Hart worked previously, have settled lawsuits with victims and said their accounts are credible and substantiated.

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