Canonical Rebuke and Definitive Decree Regarding Emeritus Bishop H. Joseph Hart
Diocese of Cheyenne
January 25, 2021
The ongoing case regarding allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by Bishop Joseph Hart has reached its conclusion. In January 2018, the Diocese of Cheyenne hired an expert investigator, a Catholic lawyer who has investigated more than 200 allegations of sexual abuse for many dioceses. He concluded that the allegations against Bishop Hart were credible. Over time, the reports of six accusations were reviewed by the Judicial Vicar and Diocesan Review Board, consisting of the Vicar General, three lay men and three women, one of whom is the Chancellor. Their professional backgrounds include law enforcement; school administration; a Doctor of Psychology; a pediatrician; a psychotherapist, who treats sexually abused children; and a judge, who was a criminal prosecutor for 13 years involving crimes against children, primarily child sexual abuse. They judged that proper procedures were followed; they agreed that we needed to report credible allegations to law enforcement; and they were convinced that we had sufficient evidence to conclude with moral certainty that the six accusations against Bishop Hart are credible. These findings were presented to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which has competence for coming to a final decision in such cases.