Why Are There So Many Abusive Catholic Bishops in the New England Area?

| Sep 28, 2021 | Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XVI leads a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization at the Vatican Oct. 9.

There’s at least one in New Hampshire and one in Rhode Island. In Massachusetts there are at least five, and not surprisingly, since it’s so large, there are at least nine in New York.

We’re talking about Catholic bishops who have been publicly accused of molesting kids. There are nearly 50 of them across the United States, according to BishopAccountability.org

But for whatever reason, these few New England states seem to have a disproportionate share.

Plus there are several prelates who reportedly abused when they were priests in New England and were later promoted to be bishops (like Robert Gugliemone of South Carolina, who is accused of molesting in New York).

And of course we shouldn’t forget Theodore McCarrick, who headed in dioceses in New Jersey and Washington D.C. but is accused of abusing young seminarians in New Jersey and New York and at least one child in Massachusetts. (His criminal case is pending, as are civil cases against him in New York and New Jersey.)

Here are the accused bishops who now head or have headed dioceses or archdioceses:

–Francis Spellman of NYC (a cardinal)

–Humberto Medeiros of Boston (also a cardinal)

–Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn (still on the job, despite two accusers)

–Timothy Harrington of Worcester

–Louis Gelineau of Rhode Island

–Peter Libasci of New Hampshire

–Thomas Dupress of Springfield

–Christiopher Weldon of Springfield

And here are the auxiliary bishops accused of abuse: James Patrick Sullivan, Austin Vaughn and James Francis McCarthy of NYC, Guy Sansaricq, Joseph Michael Sullivan and Joseph Denning of Brooklyn, Edward Grosz of Buffalo, Joseph Estabrook of Albany, George Rueger of Worcester and John R. McGann of Rockville Centre.

Keep these men in mind the next time you hear someone wonder aloud “How did thousands of priests, nuns, seminarians, monks and brothers get by sexually assaulting thousands of children for decades without ever being caught?”

One answer is that the men who were charged with vetting, supervising and monitoring these predators have painfully often been accused – usually credibly accused – of sexual misdeeds themselves.

(Thanks to BishopAccountability for their solid research about these individuals.)