Group to protest Burlington Diocese handling of sex abuse allegations

August 5, 2019

[with video]

Vermont's Roman Catholic Diocese plans to release by the end of the month its long-awaited report on priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children, but that's not son enough for some.

It's been 10 months since Vermont Bishop Christopher Coyne announced the Diocese was creating a committee of people not ordained by the church to look through records and create a list of names. Monday he said that list will now be ready by the end of the month.

Bishop Coyne's statement was prompted by the fact that SNAP -- a national survivor's advocacy group -- was in South Burlington Monday. The organization claims the Diocese here is not moving fast enough to make information public.

The group's David Clohessy says that each day the Diocese waits, children may be abused. He admits he hasn't spoken with Bishop Coyne, but still wants to see the list now, even though the Church says it's still being vetted.

Reporter Cat Viglienzoni: What if there's a name on that list that an investigation shows should not have been on that list?
David Clohessy: That will obviously be a tragedy for that individual and his family. That said, there is a greater tragedy, and that is the rape of a boy or a girl.

Monday the diocese promised the information is coming. Saying in statement: "The work is just about completed and the report will be published by the Diocese of Burlington before the end of August."

Committee member Mike Donoghue says the sheer volume of information led to the delay. "Once we saw the personnel files -- some of them 1,000 pages or more -- we knew it would take many more months. The seven members have been left to do their work with no interference. Transparency was promised and received," he said.

Donoghue says the Bishop also told them he intends to present the committee's report to the public with no changes.

The Vermont Attorney General's office is also investigating abuse allegations. Officials Monday said that work was still in progress.

Last week New Hampshire's bishop released the names of priests accused of abusing kids.


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