Bishop Madere Testifies in Priest Abuse Trial

CBS 47
March 25, 2009

The former Bishop of the Fresno Archdiocese takes the stand in the sexual abuse trial against the Catholic Church.

Bishop Joseph Madere told jurors on Wednesday that he never knew of alleged abuse by a Wasco priest.

The topic for much of the morning’s questioning was about the priest file for Monsignor Anthony Herdegen. The Bishop told jurors that during his time as Bishop, he never knew of or never received any complaints about the Monsignor and alleged sexual abuse by the Wasco priest.

The plaintiff’s attorney questioned whether or not he didn’t know about the allegations because of his handling of complaints of priests. The Bishop told jurors that when people came to him with complaints about their priests, he asked them to write down those complaints and then call the person they were complaining about and tell them what they were writing before they sent that letter. He said, “I don’t want to run the Diocese by rumors.”

The plaintiff’s attorney say this brings to mind the question of whether the Bishop didn’t receive complaints because people were deterred by his process or even intimidated by it. They were afraid of complaining because they would have to confront the person they were complaining about.

The Bishop was on the stand most of the morning and was expected to return after the lunch break.


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