Bishop Defends Staff Member

By Sam Hemingway
Burlington Free Press [Vermont]
May 9, 2007

Bishop Salvatore Matano on Tuesday rejected a call by an advocacy group for victims of priest abuse that he fire a staff member for the state's Roman Catholic diocese responsible for training church workers about child abuse prevention.

Matano said the staff member, former Burlington Police Chief Kevin Scully, had done a good job as the diocese's director of safe environment programs in the 18 months he had served in the post.

"Few, if any, could have accomplished what he has accomplished in such a brief period of time," Matano said in a letter to David Clohessy, director of SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests made public by the diocese.

Matano's letter was written just hours after Clohessy made public a letter he sent Matano on Tuesday that criticized Scully's performance and the failure by the diocese to train all its workers in child abuse prevention techniques.

The diocese is one of only two in the United States that a recent study determined had not complied with an abuse prevention process mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Please show by your actions that, when it comes to the safety of your flock, you mean business," Clohessy wrote in his letter to Matano. "If there are no consequences for refusing to protect children, how can Vermont Catholics trust that you take the safety of children seriously?"

Matano, in his responding letter, told Clohessy he regretted that the diocese had not completed its training of all church workers, including volunteers.

"I, too, am disturbed that we have yet to achieve full compliance," Matano wrote. "However, I respectfully disagree with your conclusions, which seem to lack basic information."

Contact Sam Hemingway at 660-1850 or e-mail at


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