Complaint Alleges Springfield Bishop Covered Up Clergy Abuse
An advocate for clergy sexual abuse survivors said he's filed a complaint against the Springfield Roman Catholic bishop, accusing Mitchell Rozanski of trying to cover up allegations against priests.
The complaint is being lodged with the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service, which is set up to look at misconduct by a bishop or cardinal.
Olan Horne, an advocate and clergy abuse survivor, said the allegations go beyond those outlined in a report released by retired judge Peter Velis — which validated abuse claims against former Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon.
"We have individual reports from witnesses that have experienced time and time again the same tactics of delay, deny and covering up the the claims," Horne said.
Horne also said the Velis report, as well as allegations about "financial improprieties" by the diocese, will be submitted for review.
Rozanski, who is leaving the Springfield diocese next month to become archbishop of St. Louis, said in a statement he will "fully cooperate with any inquiries."
Rozanski also outlined steps he's taken to handle abuse claims differently, including reaching an agreement with area prosecutors on how allegations will be handled, and establishing a panel to see how the diocese itself can change how it deals with abuse claims.
"I believe we owe these efforts to the many victim-survivors of clergy abuse and their families, those whose lives have been devastated by these terrible predators," Rozanski said.
The complaint will be forwarded to Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who has some oversight of the Springfield diocese.