A New Hampshire Catholic bishop is the subject of a Church investigation into child sexual abuse; SNAP responds

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has initiated a Church investigation into allegations that New Hampshire Bishop Peter Libasci groped an altar boy decades ago. The accusations stem from a lawsuit filed against Bishop Libasci in New York under the Child Victims Act. The complaint says that the victim was a 12-13-year-old boy in the mid-1980s when then-Father Libasci worked as a parish priest in Long Island.


We find it troubling that the guidelines for removing accused clerics from ministry apparently do not apply to bishops. It seems to us if Bishop Libasci was sincere in launching his ‘restoring trust’ campaign, he would step down immediately while the investigation unfolds. When the accused remains in a position of authority while under scrutiny, it not only deepens the wounds of victims but also discourages others who might come forward if they believed that their allegations would be taken seriously. This tactic is particularly disturbing when it is used to protect a member of the hierarchy. 
The lawsuits filed under the CVA have accused numerous high-ranking Catholic officials who worked in NY state of child sexual abuse. It is clear that secular law trumps internal reviews at revealing the true scope of abuse within the Church.
By our count, Bishop Libasci is the 52nd Catholic prelate to have been accused of sexually abusing children or adults, and New Hampshire is the 34th state led by a Catholic bishop accused of abuse. When the head of a diocese is accused of being a perpetrator, it raises our concern that outcries in that Diocese may not have been appropriately handled. We hope that the New Hampshire Attorney General will take a closer look at Diocesan records from the years that Bishop Libasci has been in charge of the Manchester Diocese.

CONTACT:  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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