Norwich Diocese Is 'Grievously Sorry,' Reveals Names Of Abusers | Connecticut Public Radio
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Norwich Diocese Is 'Grievously Sorry,' Reveals Names Of Abusers

Feb 11, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich has released names of clergy found to be credibly accused of sexually assaulting minors.

This follows continued reporting by The Day that found at least 28 clergy affiliated with the Norwich diocese had been accused of sexual assaulting both minors and adults. The diocese said last year that the list would come out sometime in January of 2019.

The report lists 43 names, arranged by the person’s position in the diocese. The report also includes some information about what happened to the accused. But, advocates want to know more about what’s not included in the report.

The diocese, according to the report, has paid out around $7.7 million to survivors in a total of nine lawsuits against it. Attorney Kelly Reardon, a managing partner with The Reardon Law Firm in New London, said that number is confusing, because her firm has won more than that just for victims that she’s represented.

“We’ve settled a total of $8.16 million in cases, so it just simply doesn’t add up and I think that the diocese needs to take some steps to try to determine exactly what went wrong here in terms of their reporting,” Reardon said.

The diocese said that every allegation of abuse is reported to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, along with New York Child Protective Services – consistent with a 1971 mandated reporter law in Connecticut.

But there’s no information listed in the report to show who was contacted. For Gail Howard, that’s fueling her suspicion that the Diocese hasn’t followed the law.

“Every allegation for that date going forward should’ve been reported to the police, so that’s an important piece here, whether or not the diocese complied with that law,” said Howard, the co-leader of the Connecticut chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Howard is working on finding if there were any names of priests omitted from the list and if she finds any, she said she’ll release the names to the public in a press conference.

Last month, the Archdiocese of Hartford revealed the names of 48 clergy members connected to its work that were credibly accused of sexual assault.

“We support the actions that the Diocese of Norwich is taking in being accountable and transparent to the faithful of their diocese,” said David Elliott, a spokesman for the Hartford Archdiocese, in a written statement.

In its report, the Archdiocese of Hartford said it paid out $50.6 million to victims of sexual abuse.

“The Archdiocese of Hartford remains resolute in prayer for the victims of abuse and we continue to ask all to keep them in your daily prayers," Elliott said.

The Norwich diocese has refused to participate in an interview with Connecticut Public Radio.

Bishop Michael Cote did offer an apology in a letter to parishioners that’s dated February 7.

“It is my hope and prayer that this effort to let the light shine on this dark chapter in the life of the Church will bring some measure of peace, healing, and acknowledgement to those who have been directly harmed and to all members of our faith community,” Cote wrote in the letter.

Of the 43 listed, 33 are now dead and the remainder no longer work for the diocese.

Reardon, the attorney in New London, said she’s talked to survivors and she said they’re generally pleased that the names were made public. But she said they feel a lot more can be done.