Wyoming Law Enforcement Recommends Charges Against Two Catholic Clergymen, SNAP Responds

Following a review of accusations of child abuse, authorities in Wyoming have recommended that charges be brought against two unnamed Catholic priests. We are grateful for this development and hope that it encourages others who experienced abuse to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.

According to the Star-Tribune, the announcement from Cheyenne police said that “the investigation stemmed 'from a case initiated in 2002 that was reopened in 2018’ amid new information provided to authorities by the Diocese of Cheyenne." Those particulars match what is publicly known about the allegations against former Bishop Joseph Hart.

Though this move is long overdue, we are glad that apparently the accusations against Bishop Hart have finally been investigated by police and that charges have been recommended. At the same time, cases like these are often difficult to prosecute, so we encourage anyone with information or suspicions about the former bishop to find the courage to call law enforcement immediately.

We are also very grateful to current Cheyenne Bishop Steven Biegler. When he assumed his post, Bishop Biegler reopened the investigation into his predecessor, found the allegations “credible,” and passed the information on to law enforcement. Without Bishop Biegler, today’s news would likely not have happened.

We hope that other bishops around the country learn from Bishop Biegler’s example and look for ways to assist law enforcement with investigations into clergy abuse.

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 SNAPnetwork.org)

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant