Wyoming police recommend sex abuse charges for two Catholic leaders

Religion News Service | 8/14/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — Police in Wyoming are recommending sex abuse charges against two unnamed Catholic leaders in the state, a move that comes roughly a year after police reopened a case involving accusations of sex abuse by a local bishop who is now retired.

“An investigation into sex abuse taking place in Cheyenne by members of the Catholic Clergy has resulted in affidavits of probable cause being filed with the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office,” reads a news release from the Cheyenne Police Department published on Wednesday (Aug. 14). “The affidavits outline how a member of the Catholic Clergy and a person seeking membership in the Catholic Clergy sexually abused male juvenile victims in the 1970’s and 1980’s.”

Police - Statute - Limitations - State - Names

Police noted that there is no statute of limitations in the state of Wyoming but did not release the names of those accused. “Due to a Wyoming law to protect the identity of victims in sex abuse cases, the names of the suspects cannot be released at this time,” according to the news release.

Last year, law enforcement reopened an investigation of sex abuse allegations against Bishop Joseph Hart, citing “new information” in the case. The information was unearthed after an independent investigation by the Diocese of Cheyenne — the only Catholic diocese in the state — alleging that Hart, who was a bishop and an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Cheyenne from 1976 to 2001, sexually abused two boys in the past. He was also accused of abuse during his two decades as a priest in Missouri.

June - Diocese - Pope - Francis - Process

In June 2019, the diocese announced that Pope Francis authorized a penal process against Hart.

Hart, 87, has denied allegations in both Wyoming...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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