Settlement near in lawsuit against Springfield diocese over rape, cover-up allegations

The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

April 19, 2023

By Stephanie Barry

A Chicopee man is close to settling a lawsuit against the Catholic diocese over what he alleges were attempts to cover up his account of rape at the hands of a former bishop.

According to records filed in Hampden Superior Court, attorneys involved in a 2021 lawsuit have signaled their intentions to settle the case short of a trial. A trial date of May 3 had been set.

The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, accused diocesan leaders and its longtime attorney of conspiring to conceal allegations against the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon being part of a ring of clergy who gang-raped altar boys in the 1960s.

Named in the lawsuit are the Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield, a corporation; Archbishop Mitchell T. Rosanski, former bishop of the local diocese; former victim advocate Patricia McManamy; former special investigator and retired state trooper Kevin Murphy; diocesan spokesman Mark Dupont; John Hale, former chairman of a diocese review board; and John Egan, longtime attorney for the diocese.

A lawyer for the plaintiff and a spokeswoman for the diocese declined to comment on the pending settlement, which needs to be finalized by July 7, per the court’s order.

News of the approaching settlement comes about a month after Judge Karen L. Goodwin issued a 48-page ruling rejecting most all of the defendants’ efforts to have the lawsuit dismissed.