Diocese of Bridgeport Suspends Priest for Child Sex Abuse 17 Years After Allegations Were First Reported
A priest accused of abuse in Connecticut has just been removed due to “credible allegations” of abuse which were first reported in the early 2000s. We call on church officials to explain the delay and to provide an explanation for their public silence on this situation.
Accusations against Fr. Stephen Gleeson were apparently first reported to the diocese in 2002. Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has evidently kept silent for almost two decades about these child sex abuse allegations. Such silence flies in the face of church officials’ promise to be “open and honest” in cases of clergy sex abuse. Parishioners and the public in the Bridgeport Diocese should demand an explanation for this secrecy.
The bishop acknowledged that his hand-picked abuse panel met several times to discuss the accusations against Fr. Gleeson. But we believe that Bishop Caggiano should have disclosed the abuse report as soon as it was made. Now that the allegations have finally been made public, he should also disclose why this panel previously found the allegations “not credible” and changed course on that finding today.
While it is good that communities are being informed about this potential abuser, we think they should be kept equally informed about those church officials who chose not to act on the accusations previously. Bishop Caggiano should address the public and explain the delay in acknowledging these accusations immediately.
(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)