New Hampshire Catholic Church website lists names of predator priests

By Mark Hayward
July 31, 2019

Bishop Peter Anthony Libasci

Catholic Church leaders in New Hampshire announced Wednesday that they have added to their website the names of dozens of priests accused of child sexual abuse going back to 1950.

The "Restoring Trust" website provides the year each priest was ordained, his parish assignments and his status, which ranges from convicted of crimes to "assigned to a life of prayer and penance." Seventy-three names in total are listed.

The link to the list, however, is hard to find. It is at the bottom of the "Restoring Hope" page of the Church website.

"This is meant as an act of ownership and accountability. It is my hope that by making this information available, we are holding ourselves accountable to the evils of the past, and offering timely assistance, support and resources to those individuals and families who have been affected by the sexual abuse of a minor,” said Bishop Peter Libasci in a statement released Wednesday morning.

He also said “On behalf of my predecessors and the Church in New Hampshire, I am sorry. I seek your forgiveness for the grave sins of abuse and betrayal of trust that representatives of the Church committed."

That contrasts with the words of his predecessor -- retired Bishop John McCormack -- who famously said "mistakes were made" when it came to the priest-sex abuse crisis, which unfolded in New Hampshire in the early 2000s under his watch.

"I think a lot of institutions are trying to come clean of what's happened," said Peter E. Hutchins, a Manchester lawyer who said he has represented 250 to 300 victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests. He currently represents  about four. He and the Diocese of Manchester are using a system set up when current Attorney General Gordon MacDonald represented the Diocese, Hutchins said.

Even though allegations in the New Hampshire church surfaced 17 years ago, victims have all sorts of reasons to wait to come forward, Hutchins said. Some wait until their parents have died, he said.

He said victims harbor guilt feelings, and public acknowledgement helps to quell those feelings.

"Each and every day, I pray that victim-survivors find healing," Libasci said in his statement. "I also fervently pray that we never allow such darkness to enter our Church again. With these new efforts, I hope to continue on a path to restoring your trust.”



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.