New Hampshire Catholic Bishop Accused of Child Sexual Abuse; SNAP Expresses Concern
The Catholic leader of the Diocese of Manchester in New Hampshire has been accused of abusing a 12-13-year-old boy in a recently filed lawsuit. SNAP, the Survivors Network is very concerned because it appears that the prelate remains in ministry. The survivors' group is also worried about what it might mean for other accusations made in the Diocese if the Bishop is himself an abuser.
We are grateful to the New York Child Victim Act. Bishop Peter Libasci is accused of abusing a young boy on numerous occasions in 1983 and 1984 while he was working at Saints Cyril and Methodius Church and School in Deer Park, New York, as a priest. That parish belongs to the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Without its "window to justice," the allegations against Bishop Libasci might never have come to light.
However, we were very concerned to read in the media that the Diocese of Manchester reported that the status of Bishop Libasci remains "unchanged." Another active Catholic prelate faced with similar allegations this year stepped away from his position while the accusations against him were being investigated. We worry that allowing the Bishop to remain in ministry may further endanger young lives in New Hampshire. Requiring Bishop Libasci to remove himself also seems more in keeping with the promises of the 2002 Dallas Charter. We hope that the Bishop's Metropolitan or the Vatican intervene to correct this troubling situation immediately.
By our count, Bishop Libasci is the 51st Catholic prelate to have been accused of sexually abusing kids 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.
We also hope that this story will encourage others who may have knowledge or suspicions about abuse in either the Diocese of Manchester or the Diocese of Rockville Centre to come forward and make a report to local police and prosecutors. Survivors speaking out for the first time can also look to groups like ours for help and support as they make their outcry.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Janet Klinger, SNAP Long Island (516-749-3798, [email protected]), Brian Toale, SNAP New York (646-549-0372, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])