Abusive Bishop Busted

News: US News
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 24, 2020   

Judge: Allegations 'unequivocally credible'

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (ChurchMilitant.com) - An independent report released by the diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts is asserting that sex abuse claims against Springfield's former Bp. Christopher Weldon are unequivocally credible" and the diocese covered for him.

Retired judge Peter A. Velis (masslive.com)

In a 375-page report released by the diocese on Wednesday, retired judge Peter A. Velis removed all doubt about the credibility of the allegations against the late Bp. Weldon.

"Therefore, I find the allegations of the complainant of sexual molestation committed upon him by Bp. Christopher J. Weldon," wrote Velis, "that included anal rape, indecent assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are unequivocally credible."

He added, "The allegations that were investigated and examined are not dubious, vague or ambiguous in any essentials, nor are they the product of any chimerical conception, fabrication or schematic design."

The late Weldon, who died in 1982, was the subject of an independent investigation owing to allegations first heard by Springfield's Diocesan Review Board in June 2018. Velis, who was tapped the following year to conduct an independent investigation, was critical of the board's gross mishandling of the allegations.

"It was clear in my examination that the process included an inexplicable modification and manipulation of the reports received by and acted on by the Diocesan Review Board," Velis asserted. "Additionally, the complaint process was compromised in that mandatory reporters failed in their duties to report the allegations to prosecutorial authorities."

Long History of Abuse

Weldon was consecrated a bishop in 1950 by New York's Cdl. Francis Spellman, the same cardinal who ordained the now-disgraced Theodore McCarrick to the priesthood in 1958. According to Randy Engel, who writes of this event in The Rite of Sodomy, Weldon was part of a disturbing homosexual network.

I find the allegations of ... anal rape, indecent assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are unequivocally credible.

Becoming bishop of Springfield in 1950 at the age of 44, Weldon remained in this position for 27 years. He retired as bishop of Springfield in 1977 at the age of 72, three years before the mandatory age of 75.

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, who took charge of Springfield in 2014, called the allegations against Weldon in 2019 "deeply troubling."

Weldon at Mass, circa 1950 (Digital Commonwealth)

"The bishop does find the allegations against the former bishop as deeply troubling and we remain open to ongoing dialogue with this victim and perhaps others who might have knowledge of these allegations," admitted diocesan spokesperson Mark Dupont.

The Diocesan Review Board, nonetheless, claimed the alleged survivor never accused Weldon of direct abuse. This claim was disputed, however, by three individuals present when the alleged victim met with the board and named Weldon as an assailant.

In his report, Velis noted the prevailing resistance to investigate the allegations against Weldon, owing to his historical popularity within the diocese.

"Significantly, in evaluating the actions of those involved in the Weldon assessment, I found that there was a reluctance to fervently pursue an evaluation of allegations against him due to his prominence and revered legacy in the religious community," stated Velis.

Read the full report below:

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