WGGB - WesternMassNews [Springfield MA]
March 2, 2022
By Ryan Trowbridge
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has announced two updates to their online list of clergy with credible accusations of sexual abuse.
On Wednesday, Father Gerard Lafleur was added to the list. He was ordained in 1953 and had assignments in Chicopee, Springfield, South Hadley, and Holyoke prior to his death in 2011. The abuse accusation involves a minor and dates back to 1974.
In addition, the listing for Father Charles Sullivan was updated to indicate that there has been more than one allegation against him. The move comes after the Diocesan Review Board looked into an allegation of sexual abuse involving a minor that dates back to 1994.
Sullivan was ordained in 1965 and had assignments in Longmeadow, Springfield, Holyoke, Westfield, Monson, Pittsfield, Lenox, Amherst, Indian Orchard, and Thorndike before he was removed from the ministry in 2002. He died in 2014.
The diocese explained that an allegation is deemed credible if there is “a reasonable cause to believe that the sexual abuse occurred” and noted that while it’s not a definitive finding of guilty, the acknowledgement of these credible allegations is “a critically important action that the diocese owes to those survivors who have so courageously stepped forward.” They added that in the case of an allegation against a deceased clergy member, those individuals are not able to respond to the allegations.
Anyone with information on misconduct is asked to contact local law enforcement and the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance at (413) 452-0624, (800) 842-9055, or via email.
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