Vatican Punts on Bishop Joseph Hart instead of Taking Action, SNAP Renews Call for Secular Involvement

Now that Vatican officials have formally chosen to do nothing to punish or isolate serially abusive former Bishop Joseph Hart, it is crucial that police and prosecutors double down on their pursuit of charges against him.

Cheyenne, WY police have already finished multiple investigations into Bishop Joseph Hart and have recommended that charges be filed against him. Given that this secular investigation by trained investigative professionals resulted in a recommendation for charges, we cannot take seriously the Vatican’s determination that Bishop Hart was not proven guilty “beyond a moral certitude.” The rebuke issued by the CDF is little more than a slap on the hand for Hart, but is surely a slap in the face to the men and women who were hurt by him and hoped to see some measure of justice done.

We hope that, in light of this disappointing-yet-not-surprising decision from the Vatican to do nothing against Bishop Hart, prosecutors will re-examine the case and reverse their previous decision.

At least 17 different people have alleged abuse by Hart. We know that there is no magical age at which a predator stops abusing children, and so we believe that Hart remains a threat today. Police and prosecutors should use their authority to get this dangerous man off the streets, helping protect children from the scourge of sexual abuse. We hope that they will act immediately.

Hart worked as a bishop in both Kansas City, MO and Cheyenne, WY, and therefore had immense power and stature. We can only imagine that there are victims – and victim suppression – in every single place he worked. This makes it even more critical that secular society step in to right the wrongs that allowed Hart to abuse so many and get away with it for so long.

We are grateful to Bishop Steven Biegler, the current Bishop of Cheyenne, who first recommended that police investigate his predecessor and offered up his files to them. No action, whether by the police or by the Vatican, would have occurred without Bishop Biegler’s decision to turn over documents to police. We hope that this example will inspire church officials everywhere.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, 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

Showing 2 comments

  • John Chevedden
    commented 2021-01-26 18:44:53 -0600
    Assignment Record – Bishop Hubert Joseph Hart
    1956-1962 Guardian Angels, Kansas City, MO
    1962-1966 Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, Kansas City, MO
    1963-1971 Ecclesiastical Notary, Kansas City, MO
    1964-1976 Vice-Chancellor, Kansas City, MO
    1966-1968 St. Therese Little Flower, Kansas City, MO
    1968-1969 St. James, Kansas City, MO
    1969-1976 St. John Francis Regis, Kansas City, MO
    1976-1978 Auxilliary Bishop, Cheyenne
    1976-1978 St. Patrick’s, Capser
    1978-2001 Bishop, Cheyenne

  • Zach Hiner
    published this page in Official SNAP Media Statements 2021-01-25 15:46:43 -0600

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