The Vermont Attorney General’s office announced Monday that a task force has been established to investigate the decades-old abuse at St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington.
The joint state-local law enforcement effort follows a recent Buzzfeed News article about child abuse at Roman Catholic orphanages, including St. Joseph’s, which closed in the 1970s. That article included allegations of a boy being thrown from a window to his death, beatings by nuns, a girl forced to slap herself 50 times and children being locked in an attic.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Burlington, Christopher Coyne, responded to the Buzzfeed allegations at mass Sunday morning, telling parishioners “The only way we can get to the truth of this is to cooperate.”
“The fact that those events happened over 50 years ago does not lessen the horror and grief we all feel at the thought of innocent and vulnerable children suffering abuse at the hands of those who should have cared for and protected them,” he told parishioners.
Coyne says he’s committed to helping the state’s investigation and will turn over any documents.
“I welcome the formation of this task force and I will do everything I can to help them discover the truth,” he said.
This story included information from the Associated Press.