April 17, 2021 07:27

Vatican Declines to Punish Retired U.S. Bishop in Abuse Case

The Vatican has declined to pursue penalties against a a retired U.S. bishop accused of “flagrant” imprudent behavior with teenagers, even though a diocesan review board determined a half-dozen allegations of sexual abuse against him were credible, reports the Associated Press.  The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cleared retired Cheyenne, Wyo., Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations abuse, determined that five others couldn’t be proven “with moral certitude,” and that two cases involving boys, who were 16 and 17, couldn’t be prosecuted given the Catholic Church didn’t consider them minors at the time of the alleged abuse, the diocese reported Monday. Another allegation wasn’t addressed in the decree. The sentence showed the arbitrary nature of Vatican’s canonical sex abuse judgments, which aren’t public. Hart’s previous diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph reached court settlements years ago with at least 10 victims. But Wyoming criminal prosecutors also decided last year not to proceed with charging Hart. Hart, 89, had long maintained his innocence and denied all allegations of misconduct.

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