3 priests added to list of those accused of sexual abuse of a minor

Manchester Ink Link [Manchester NH]

April 10, 2024

The Diocese of Manchester, the Roman Catholic Church in New Hampshire, on Wednesday added three priests to its list of clergy accused of sexual abuse of a minor as part of its continuing effort and commitment to protecting children and young people. This is the first addition to the Restoring Trust website since its inception in 2019. The information, assignment histories, and additional resources are available at catholicnh.org/restoringtrust.

Reverend George Desjardins has been listed under the category “Cases Concluded” for a report of abuse that took place more than 40 years ago that was received recently. Fr. Desjardins is alive and has been retired since 2002. He is prohibited from ministry.

Reverend Matthew Schultz has been listed on the Restoring Trust website under the category “Cases in Process,” which are cases involving living Diocesan priests, but where the canonical proceedings are not yet complete. Fr. Schultz is prohibited from ministry. Out of respect for those involved and because the case is still in process, no further information will be disclosed at this time.

Reverend André Thibodeau has been listed on the Restoring Trust website of the Diocese of Manchester as a Deceased Priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor for a report received after his death. Fr. Thibodeau died in 2015.

Law enforcement has been notified of the reports concerning all three priests. Whenever it becomes aware of a report of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest, deacon, diocesan employee, or volunteer, the Diocese ensures that the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office is notified, even if the misconduct took place many years ago.

The Diocese strives to keep children safe in its parishes, schools, and camps. Since 2001, more than 30,000 adults in the Diocese have completed safe environment training and background checks and its Safe Environment program is a national leader in providing training, curriculum, and ongoing print and digital communication to prevent abuse and protect children.

The Diocese’s Delegates for Ministerial Conduct and Safe Environment work to report and prevent abuse and its Coordinator of Victim Assistance and Pastoral Care provides support to those affected by abuse.

Anyone with information pertaining to sexual abuse in the Church is encouraged to make a report to law enforcement. For information on how to report abuse, to request counseling or other services, or to learn more about how the Diocese of Manchester works to create a safe environment in all its ministries, visit catholicnh.org/safety.