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Regional News

'We Can Do Better': Springfield Diocese Forms New Panel On Sexual Abuse

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Bishop Mitchell Rozanski leads the Springfield Catholic Diocese.

The Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese is forming a new panel tasked with looking at how the church deals with clergy sexual abuse.

Prosecutors have criticized the diocese for not handing over all complaints of abuse. Earlier this month, three western Massachusetts district attorneys and the diocese reached an agreement, in which prosecutors will be made aware of all claims, and investigate before church officials perform their own inquiries. 

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski said the new task force includes a retired judge, clergy and social service experts.

"We can do better in responding to victims who come to us, and in being able to deal with this scourge of any type of abuse that comes to our attention," Rozanski said.

Rozanski told WGBY's "Connecting Point" that the panel's purpose is two-fold, with some of its work based on a yet-to-be-released report on sexual abuse claims against a late bishop.

"One — to look over the report and see about the allegations against Bishop Christopher Weldon," Rozanski said. "And secondly — to find out within our response to those allegations, what we can do better."

The diocese said the task force's report will be completed in the near future. It is being led by former Superior Court Judge Peter Velis. 

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