Former Springfield Bishop Settles Abuse Case

By Matthew Campbell

December 3, 2008

[with video]


The Springfield Diocese settles with a second group of clergy abuse victims, including the two men who brought down Bishop Thomas Dupre.

59 victims have settled with the Springfield Diocese for 4.5 million dollars. And, one of the key figures in the initial investigation is paying up. Former Springfield Bishop Thomas Dupre is accused of abusing two boys back in the 1970s. It's something he's never admitted to, but some say this payout says it all.

"It's not common, but it's not unheard of. There are some priests nationally who have paid out of their own pocket. It certainly feels like an acknowledgment on Bishop Dupre's part that he was responsible for the harm that occurred to several of the victims," says Peter Pollard regional coordinator of SNAP, a national abuse advocate group.

"It's a step forward, but it's a small symbolic step forward," Pollard says.

After the abuse allegations, Dupre checked into a Maryland rehab. That's where he's still believed to be, still getting money from the Vatican.

"I think it's very likely that he's collecting checks from the church," Pollard says.

Dupre is a retired bishop and that means he's getting retirement checks. He has that luxury because he was never defrocked. But the question on many residents minds is, 'why not?'

"Any matter regarding the matter of Bishop Dupre and his ministerial circumstances has to come from the Holy City, the Vatican," responds Springfield Diocese spokesman, Mark Dupont.

That's where it stands. There are no other current abuse allegations against Dupre, so this first payout, could be his last.

"No amount of cash will resolve the different pains and suffering these individuals have gone through. It's a terrible thing and we feel terrible that they had to endure this," Dupont.

The Diocese won't release the amount Dupre paid out himself, but we did learn the settlements spanned anywhere from $5,000 to $200,000.


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