Report Details Sex Abuse by Priests and Inaction by a Diocese

By Fox Butterfield
New York Times [Concord NH]
Downloaded March 6, 2003

ONCORD, N.H., March 3 - The New Hampshire attorney general's office released more than 9,000 pages of documents and a detailed report today showing how the leadership of the state's Roman Catholic diocese knew for years about sexual abuse of minors by some of its priests and helped cover it up, violating the state's child endangerment law.

Today's report amounts to what the attorney general's office said was the substance of an indictment that it was prepared to file against the Manchester diocese last December before the current bishop, John B. McCormack, agreed to a deal admitting the government had enough evidence to convict the diocese for child endangerment. Bishop McCormack had also agreed to the release of the documents and a report.

In a departure from other investigations of sexual abuse by priests, today's report drew on testimony by several of the accused priests themselves.

Providing a picture of how the diocese over the years failed to take steps to protect children, the report focused on eight priests. Their cases were the ones with the strongest evidence not only that they sexually abused children but also that the diocese knew for years about them and helped cover up for them, said James D. Rosenberg, assistant attorney general.


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