Abuse allegations against former Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon ‘unequivocally credible,' investigation finds
SPRINGFIELD — A retired superior court judge’s review of sexual abuse allegations against former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, who led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield for more than 25 years, found the accusations to be “unequivocally credible.”
Meanwhile, mandatory reporters in the diocese who first heard the alleged victim’s account failed to report the matter to law enforcement officials, according to the executive summary for a 350-plus page report released Wednesday by the diocese. The report is the product of an investigation by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis, who was hired a year ago to investigate the matter.
Velis’ report concluded “the allegations of the Complainant of sexual molestation committed upon him by Bishop Christopher J Weldon, both as a principal, and as a ‘coventurer’ that included anal rape, indecent assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are unequivocally credible. 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 unsavory and heinous nature of the offensive behavior attributed to the late bishop is clearly shocking.”
In an executive summary, Velis criticized the diocesan review board that heard the alleged victim’s account in June 2018.
“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 wrote. “Additionally the complaint process was compromised in that mandatory reporters failed in their duties to report the allegations to prosecutorial authorities.”
Velis said that in “evaluating the actions of those involved in the Weldon assessment,” he found a “reluctance to fervently pursue an evaluation of allegations against [Weldon] due to his prominence and revered legacy in the religious comm...