Springfield Diocese has requested reporter's notes on priest rape.

(For Immediate Release September 22, 2022) 

The Berkshire Eagle is going to court today to fight the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in its bid to get a reporter to reveal a confidential source.

According to court records, doing so would violate the reporter's commitment not to expose the name of a person who gave information regarding a Chicopee man's allegation in a civil complaint that he was regularly raped by clergy, including previous Bishop Christopher Weldon, as an altar boy in the 1960s.

We stand in full support of The Eagle who has helped amplify victims’ voices in the wake of the atrocities committed by abusive clergy. The Eagle's coverage in 2019 exposed the diocese's effort to safeguard the late bishop from being identified as an abuser. An independent judge's assessment in 2020 backed up that coverage, which was used extensively in the man's 2021 lawsuit against the diocese and eight of its leaders, including former Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski.

To us, attorneys for the diocese are using desperate legal tactics to create a new narrative or diversion. Per the court documents, a request from the diocese's lawyers asks the newspaper to break a trust with a confidential source and would jeopardize its ability to conduct investigative journalism.

This is oddly like how church officials have fought us here at SNAP to quiet what has been shared with us in confidence. According to our observations, the church continues to spend money on attorneys, dragging out litigation, even though we know stating the truth is free. Rather than attempting to fix up their own problems, they strike out and blame anyone who publicizes those tragedies and/or helps individuals implicated in them. We feel that the court will rule in favor of justice in this case.

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

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

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