PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Massachusetts diocese designated three new investigators in an effort to revamp its response to clergy abuse allegations.
The Diocese of Springfield announced Monday it will expand its response team to include a child welfare worker and two retired police officers.
The appointment of new investigators is a response to complaints from victims on how allegations have been handled by the diocese, Jeffrey Trant, the director of the diocese’s Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, said in a statement.
He added that this “is a first step in addressing their legitimate concerns.”
The team that Trant oversees include C. Lee Bennett and Norman Charest, retirees from the Springfield Police Department, and Brenda Burge, a current investigator with the state Department of Children and Families.
The diocese hired an investigator to obtain facts and statements in relation to abuse allegations. The findings will be presented to an internal Review Board, which will then make recommendations to Bishop Mitchell Rozanski.
The findings are collected internally and separate from any possible criminal investigation.
In the early 1990s, Springfield priest Richard Lavigne was defrocked and several of his victims received cash settlements. In 2004, a grand jury indicted Thomas Dupre on two counts of child molestation soon after he resigned following a 13-year stint as the diocese’s bishop.
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