‘SNAP’ names Vermont priests accused of abuse ahead of diocese report


SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt.- A national support group for survivors of clergy abuse says the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is withholding the names of priests it knows have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

David Clohessy of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, spoke Monday with reporters outside Bishop Christopher Coyne’s Burlington office.

Coyne is awaiting a report on allegations from a committee that is reviewing records of misconduct allegations in the church between 1950 and 2003. The committee, appointed by Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan, was expected to issue its report by now. It will reportedly include the names of clergy members accused of abuse.

“We would beg him to give at least a progress report, a preliminary report,” Clohessy said. “This is about the safety of kids.”

Clohessy, who said he was abused by a priest when he was a child, accused Coyne of being secretive. On Monday, he provided the names of eight priests he says have been accused of sexual abuse.

“Every time we have a proven admitted or credibly accused child molester, we’re going to warn parents about him promptly,” said Clohessy.

Local 22 & Local 44 News has decided not to publish the names until the committee issues its report to the public.

Bishop Christopher Coyne_-7117900271266214549
Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne is awaiting a report on misconduct allegations in the church between 1950 and 2003.

“The files are massive,” said Mike Donoghue, longtime Vermont journalist and a member of the committee. “A thousand pages, and you have to look at every single piece of paper.”

Coyne says that once he receives the report, he plans to reach out to survivors, as well as some of the accused priests and their families before it is released to the public.

Donovans office has also created a joint state-local task force to investigate decades-old abuse allegations at St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington. That followed a Buzzfeed News article about abuse at Catholic orphanages, including St. Joseph’s, which closed in the 1970s.

The report 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.

Donovan’s office said Monday he had no updates on the investigation.

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