CT--Secret records released re CT predator priest
For immediate release: Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015
Ten pages of previously-secret records about a serial predator priest who worked and abused in Connecticut have been made public. They paint an unflattering view of the Catholic church hierarchy.
He’s Fr. Bernard W. Bissonette (a.k.a. Bissonnette). At least nine men have accused him of child sex crimes. One of them, Thomas Deary, committed suicide. Members of the Deary family travelled to New Mexico to confront Fr. Bissonette.
In the 1960s, Fr. Bissonette worked in the Norwich diocese at parishes in Moosup, Putnam and Pawcatuck.
After he was transferred out of Connecticut, over the next 30 years, he went on to abuse children at nine parishes in New Mexico, Michigan, and Minnesota, according to BishopAccountability.org. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2015/11_12/2015_11_11_Marti_KOB_Another_former.htm
The records show Fr. Bissonette’s colleagues were concerned early in his career about his “peculiar behavior” and show that he “had trouble with boys” and was “sent out of the Norwich diocese because a (victim’s) father was threatening arrest.”
We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Connecticut will summon the strength to speak up. Kids are safer only when victims, witnesses and whistleblowers are courageous enough to act. Silence is tempting but it only helps wrongdoers.
It’s important that people with suspicions or knowledge of these crimes and cover ups call the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased amateurs in church positions.
Even if those who committed the abuse may be deceased or elderly, those who concealed the abuse may still face prosecution for failure to report abuse, endangering kids, destroying evidence and other offenses.
We call on Norwich Bishop Michael Cote to personally visit the parishes where Fr. Bissonette worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward. Cote should also use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements across the entire diocese to seek out others who may have been assaulted and are still suffering. And he should permanently post on his diocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of every child molesting Norwich cleric, whether alive or dead, diocesan or religious order, or admitted, proven or credibly accused. (About 30 US bishops have done this. It’s the bare minimum a bishop should do to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.)
The documents are available at AndersonAdvocates.com. They were released in conjunction with civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against the Duluth Diocese, where Fr. Bissonette also worked.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, email@example.com)
Writer tells tale of abusive priest, victims - By Emily Groves, The Bulletin, August 6, 2011
It’s a story that spans northeastern Connecticut, New Mexico and 50 years, and David Margolick said it’s one he’s wanted to tell since the early 1990s.
Margolick, a Putnam native and veteran journalist, said the story of North Grosvenordale native the Rev. Bernard Bissonnette and Putnam’s Deary family is one of “sheer drama,” but also “a story about family, about loyalty and love.”
“When I heard about the story of three younger brothers (the Dearys) walking down that road in New Mexico to confront . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.