Bishop Dupre Still in Treatment

By Bill Zajac
The Republican [Springfield MA]
July 22, 2006

The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Bishop Thomas L. Dupre for more than two years may have been solved.

At a retreat in June in Pennsylvania, the former head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield listed his address as St. Luke Institute, the Silver Spring, Md., facility he checked into in February 2004 upon abandoning his position amid allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

Dupre attended a retreat from June 13 to June 21 at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, Pa., according to an official at the retreat center.

Upon registering at the retreat, Dupre listed his address as St. Luke Institute, according to the retreat official.

A 21/2-year stay at St. Luke Institute is highly unusual as treatment at the facility rarely lasts as long as six months, according to people familiar with the institute and the facility's Web site.

For this reason, there was a strong assumption that Dupre didn't remain at the facility for more than a few months upon his resignation as bishop.

Among St. Luke's treatment programs is a Halfway House Program, which usually lasts three to six months, according to the facility's Web site.

Dupre's long stay reflects the preferential treatment that bishops have received from the church during the clergy abuse crisis, according to critics of the Catholic Church's handling of the crisis.

"Those bishops (accused of abuse) are certainly being protected by the system," said Terence B. McKiernan, co-director of

He cited the policy that U.S. bishops created on clergy sexual abuse, which includes no guidelines to discipline bishops for sexual abuse of minors.

"The Vatican takes control. It means a lay person has no recourse in the discipline of bishops," McKiernan said.

If the Vatican took action against Dupre, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield would not necessarily be informed of it, Springfield Diocese spokesman Mark E. Dupont said yesterday.

David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said bishops are treated like royalty by the church, regardless of their behavior.

"St. Luke is one of the most expensive places to put abusers. Given the hundreds of priests who need treatment for abuse, it seems a little odd that he would be there for 21/2 years," Clohessy said.

Citing confidentiality laws, St. Luke declined to confirm Dupre's presence there. The institute also declined to return a call seeking information about lengthy stays for treatment and costs.

St. Luke's Web site doesn't list treatment costs.

However, the average cost of a private treatment facility is more than $650 per day, according to numerous listings of facilities on The Addiction Recovery Guide Web site.

Citing confidentiality, Springfield diocesan officials have refused to discuss publicly Dupre's whereabouts.

With regard to Dupre, the diocese continues to comply with guidelines established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding benefits to retired bishops, according to Dupont.

The guidelines include a monthly stipend of at least $1,500, appropriate housing and board, complete health insurance benefits, an automobile, all expenses for trips to provincial, regional and national bishops' meetings and workshops as well as possible occasional visits to the Vatican.

John M. Bowen of Longmeadow, head of Voice of the Faithful's chapter in East Longmeadow, expressed disappointment that the diocese wasn't more forthcoming with information about Dupre's whereabouts.

"We think the diocese owes something of an explanation to those of us in this diocese who feel betrayed," said Bowen.

"We are treated like we are children. We are adults. ... The perception of a cover-up continues," Bowen said.

Dupre was accused of sexually abusing two minors when he was a parish priest more than 10 years before he was installed as the diocese's bishop in 1995.

Dupre was indicted by a Hampden County grand jury in September 2004 on two rape charges stemming from the abuse accusations.

Hampden County District Attorney William M. Bennett chose not to pursue the charges because the criminal statute of limitations had expired.

Dupre's accusers Tuan Tran and Thomas Deshaies have pending lawsuits against Dupre and the Springfield diocese.

Clohessy and McKiernan say there are many cases of preferential treatment of abusive bishops by the church.


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