Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Judge Holzberg speaks to presbyterate

BRIDGEPORT—Retired Connecticut Superior Court Judge Robert Holzberg, who is leading an independent investigation into the handling of the abuse crisis by the Diocese of Bridgeport, spoke to the presbyterate of the Diocese of Bridgeport at their annual fall meeting this afternoon at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Weston.

Although the Clerical Sexual Abuse Accountability Report is not yet complete, the judge discussed the methodology, policies and procedures, and provided a verbal overview of the topics covered by the report, which has been a year in the making.

More than 200 priests throughout the diocese attended the talk that was followed by questions and answers. The judge will also meet with members of the diocesan survivors/victim group this evening to share the same outline.

The bishop told priests that the release of the report will be a “watershed moment” in the life of the Church and an opportunity to move forward because of its “full transparency and objectivity” in accounting for the sexual abuse crisis.

The final written report along with its findings and recommendations is expected to be released at the end of September by Judge Holzberg. It will be published in its entirety online on the diocesan website (www.bridgeportdiocese.com), and a summary of the extensive document will be provided in the October issue of Fairfield County Catholic.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano who commissioned the report in October 2018 in response to the abuse crisis, said he felt it was important that the priests of the diocese receive a report summary that will help them to prepare for questions and respond to the concerns of parishioners.

“The abuse crisis has wounded the entire Church, first and foremost the victims and their families but in a larger sense all those affected by the abuse. That includes our many good and faithful priests,” said Bishop Caggiano.

The report was originally expected to be released in the spring of 2019 but the large volume of records and scope of interviews required more time.

It will offer a complete and comprehensive accounting of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Diocese of Bridgeport, along with the response of diocesan leadership since the inception of the diocese in 1953.

Judge Holzberg provided Bishop Caggiano with a preliminary update on the investigation in a February 19, 2019 letter in which he commented on the significant undertaking and noted, “the full and enthusiastic cooperation we have received from the leadership and staff of the diocese.”

At that time the judge wrote that “the scope of our undertaking is extensive, involving review of thousands of files, hundreds of thousands of individual documents, inspection of offsite locations such as parish offices and files, the capture and review of electronically stored information, interviews with key participants, review and analysis of past and current sexual abuse and reporting policies and upon completion of the data-gathering portion of the process,  reviewing, analyzing, synthesizing and reporting out our findings and conclusions.”

The initial four months of his investigation focused on data collection including meetings and interviews with Bishop Caggiano and the diocesan leadership team, other key diocesan officials and inspections of the diocesan headquarters and file storage areas.

Meetings were held with current and former counsel for the diocese as well as counsel for those bringing claims against the diocese. Outreach to victims/survivors of clergy abuse and the members of the diocese, through individual meetings, a dedicated third-party complaint phone line and email address.

Review of archival material at the Catholic Center, included bishop and senior leadership files, legal correspondence, litigation files and previously collected data from court proceedings. All relevant files and computer files were electronically scanned/imaged and electronically analyzed using criteria relevant to the scope of the investigation.

Research for the report also included the capture of electronically stored information on the diocese email system, website, cloud storage system and personal devices.

Following the data collection phase, the investigation entered the review and analysis phase. The judge’s team retained nationally recognized data-analytic experts whose software has the ability to review and analyze in a fraction of the time the massive amount of data, both electronic and paper, that human review would require.

While the diocese awaits the report it has also taken steps of its own by continuing to update its list of credibly accused priests. On November 1, 2018, the diocese issued a financial report on settlement amounts for past claims of clergy sexual abuse of minors from the establishment of the diocese to date. The report included sources from which funds were obtained to settle claims and provide an account of the financial support currently given to any priest who has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor and who is currently on administrative leave or has been laicized.

It has also continued to update its list of credibly accused priests and the names of all priests for whom settlements were paid. In a letter published on March 22, 2019, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano provides information on the reorganization and addition of new names to the diocesan list of credibly accused clergy and a complete list of clergy on whose behalf settlements have been paid.

The diocese has published information on its website regarding credibly accused clergy dating back to 2002. In October 2015, the diocese organized this information into a single list of credibly accused priests on its website, which it has continued to update as new information becomes available.

“I believe that the Church is facing a moment of crisis that demands honesty and repentance from the bishops and decisive action to ensure that these failures will never happen again,” Bishop Caggiano said. “My hope is that the judge’s report will begin to heal the wounds that we feel and address the legitimate desire for real change that restores confidence in every level of leadership,” he said.

(To learn more about the diocesan response to sexual abuse including an updated list of credibly accused and financial settlements, please visit the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Pledge to Protect website.)

Survivor and Witness Hotline Launches

Retired Superior Court Judge Holzberg is conducting an investigation into clergy sexual abuse of minors and the Diocesan response to that abuse. In order to fully include the voices of survivors and others affected by this abuse in his report, his team has established a toll free call in line for any person who wishes to provide information related to past incidents of abuse or their experience with the Diocese in regards to such abuse. Survivors and witnesses are encouraged to call 1-833-990-0004 to provide this information or to report online using the following link www.lighthouse-services.com/diobpt Once the contact is made either Judge Holzberg or one of his team will contact you directly.

Ways to reach the hotline:
Website: www.lighthouse-services.com/diobpt

Toll-Free Telephone:

  • English speaking USA and Canada: 833-990-0004
  • Spanish speaking USA and Canada: 800-216-1288
  • Spanish speaking Mexico: 01-800-681-5340
  • French speaking Canada: 855-725-0002

When contacting the hotline, an individual may choose to identifying themselves or not. However, anonymous reports involving sexual abuse of a minor significantly limit the ability to investigate a complaint and potentially prevent further harm to minors. We urge individuals to consider this when reaching out to the Judge and his team.

PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY NEW ALLEGATION OF SEXUAL ABUSE SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES, INCLUDING YOUR LOCAL POLICE OR THE CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES (Care line 1-800-842-2288). IN ADDITION, THE DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT ENCOURAGES ALL SURVIVORS OF CLERGY ABUSE OF MINORS THAT HAVE NOT PREVIOUSLY REPORTED THIS ABUSE TO CONTACT THE DIOCESAN SAFE ENVIRONMENT OFFICE (203- 650-3265 or 203-241-0987).

March Update Letter from Judge Robert L. Holzberg

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano
Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport
238 Jewett Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06606

Dear Bishop Caggiano:

Let me take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the efforts we have undertaken to fulfill your mandate to provide you and the Diocese with a comprehensive, detailed and transparent investigation and report with respect to clergy sexual abuse of minors, and the Diocese’s response to that conduct, for the period 1953-present. This is a significant undertaking and we appreciate the full and enthusiastic cooperation we have received from the leadership and staff of the Diocese to date.

The scope of our undertaking is extensive, involving review of thousands of files, hundreds of thousands of individual documents, inspection of offsite locations such as Parish offices and files, the capture and review of electronically stored information, interviews with key participants, review and analysis of past and current sexual abuse and reporting policies, and upon completion of the data gathering portion of the process, reviewing, analyzing, synthesizing and reporting out our findings and conclusions.

In accordance with the foregoing we have been focused, in the initial four months of our investigation, with data collection which include the following efforts:

  1. Meetings and interviews with you and your leadership team, other key Diocesan officials and inspections of the diocesan headquarters and file storage areas.
  2. Meetings with current and former counsel for the Diocese as well as counsel for those bringing claims against the Diocese.
  3. Outreach to victims/survivors of clergy abuse, and the members of the Diocese, through individual meetings as well as the anticipated launch of a dedicated complaint phone line and email address by the end of March.
  4. Review of archival material at the Catholic Center, including Bishop and senior leadership files, legal correspondence, litigation files and previously collected data from court proceedings. All relevant files and computer files have been electronically
  5. scanned/imaged and will be electronically analyzed using criteria relevant to the scope of the investigation.

  6. The capture of electronically stored information on the Diocese email system, website, cloud storage system and personal devices.

Following the data collection phase, described above, we will shortly begin the review and analysis phase of our investigation. The analysis of the data and information that has been collected is a challenge both in terms of time and efficiency. We have retained nationally recognized data-analytic experts whose software has the ability to review and analyze in a fraction of the time the massive amount of data, both electronic and paper, that human review would require.

At the conclusion of this process, we will provide to you and your parishioners a detailed, comprehensive report outlining the history of clergy sexual abuse of minors from 1953-present and the Diocese response to such abuse. I am of course always available to speak with you about our progress and the process going forward. Thank you again for the opportunity and the honor to work on a project of this importance.
Sincerely yours,

Robert L. Holzberg

Bishop’s March 2019 Update Letter

OFFICE OF THE BISHOP

March 22, 2019

My Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:

I am writing to provide you an update about our ongoing efforts to address the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Diocese of Bridgeport. I specifically wish to address the following topics:

  1. Provide an update on the work of Judge Robert Holzberg and his comprehensive report on clergy abuse of minors in our Diocese and the diocesan response to this abuse
  2. The reorganization of our list of credibly accused clergy
  3. Additions to our list of credibly accused clergy
  4. The reporting of names of clergy on whose behalf settlements have been paid
  5. The establishment of a hotline for reporting information to Judge Holzberg related to past clergy abuse of minors in the Diocese and
  6. Three upcoming listening sessions for the faithful of the Diocese.

Each of these initiatives, which is explained in more detail below, is intended to continue our healing journey in an open and transparent manner.

1. Judge Holzberg Update

As I reported to you in my letter dated October 3, 2018, the Diocese invited retired Superior Court Judge Robert Holzberg to conduct a comprehensive review of all diocesan files related to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Diocese since its inception in 1953, and the diocesan response to such abuse. That work has begun in earnest by the Judge and his team. The task of identifying and reviewing the documents relevant to this review has been arduous and time-consuming. The attached letter from the Judge provides an update on his progress to date. He projects that his work will be completed no sooner than June 30, 2019. I urge you to read the letter for specific details on the critical work completed to date by Judge Holzberg and his team.

2. The Reorganized List of Credibly Accused Clergy

The Diocese has published information on its website regarding credibly accused clergy dating back to 2002. In 2015, the Diocese organized this information and published a streamlined list on the website in October 2015. We continue to review all of our Safe Environment practices to ensure the utmost transparency, particularly regarding our list of credibly accused clergy. To that end, today I have approved the posting of a reorganized list of credibly accused clergy, divided into the following four categories: (1) Credibly Accused Diocesan Clergy, Living; (2) Credibly Accused Diocesan Clergy, Deceased; (3) Credibly Accused Religious Order Clergy, Living or Deceased; and (4) Credibly Accused Clergy Visiting from Other Dioceses, Living or Deceased. New to this list are the diocesan assignment dates for those credibly accused as well as whether they were subject to a single allegation or multiple allegations of abuse. We believe these changes provide a clearer picture of accused clergy, their assignments and their specific connection to the ministries of the Diocese.

3. Updates to the List of Credibly Accused Clergy

Three circumstances have led to the addition of ten names to our list of Credibly Accused Clergy:

  1. The work of our diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board has been expanded to consider allegations of abuse against deceased clergy. Many of these allegations significantly predate the creation of this Board and therefore were not investigated under the guidelines of The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the “Charter”). These cases have now been reviewed to assess credibility.
  2. In the last several months, we have received new allegations of sexual abuse of minors against clergy in our Diocese that date back many years. These reports were forwarded both to civil authorities (the Department of Children and Families) and presented to the Sexual Misconduct Review Board for investigation and a determination of credibility.
  3. We have also re-reviewed certain cases in which new information has become available, or further review was deemed necessary. These reviews included allegations against both living and deceased clergy.

In 2002, when the Charter first led to the creation of the Sexual Misconduct Review Board, its stated purpose was to determine the suitability of an accused clergy member to return to ministry. Thus, the Diocese did not present allegations against deceased priests to the Sexual Misconduct Review Board. However, with a renewed focus on survivors of abuse and the need for transparency, I have expanded the scope of the Sexual Misconduct Review Board to review files of accused deceased clergy not previously presented to the Board, a process which was arduous and time consuming. For the diligent work of the Review Board, I am most grateful. Many of the allegations had limited information and necessitated a steadfast focus on the available facts and information. While some may argue that this presents an unfair judgment against clergy unable to defend themselves, be assured that any such case was given careful and thorough consideration before a determination of credibility was established.

With this recently completed review by the Board and its recommendations sent to me regarding credibility, the Diocese is now updating its list to include the names of ten additional priests, nine of whom are diocesan priests (8 deceased and 1 living) and one is a visiting priest from a Venezuelan diocese who spent only the summer of 1991 in the Diocese of Bridgeport. The one living diocesan priest is retired and has not served in the Diocese since 1984. His faculties were removed in 2006. He was placed on permanent administrative leave as a result of an allegation in 2006 of sexual abuse of a minor dating back to 1976. The Archdiocese of Military Services, where he had served for many years, was notified of the allegation. In 2019, the Review Board reaffirmed the decision that he should remain on permanent administrative leave. This list will continue to be updated as new information or allegations come forward and a determination of credibility is made.

4. Disclosure of Settlements Paid

As mentioned above, the Diocese has now published an additional list that includes the names of all clergy on whose behalf settlements were reached because of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. As a follow-up to the Financial Report issued on November 1, 2018, I determined that it is important and prudent to disclose the names of all clergy on whose behalf settlements were paid. It is crucial to note that in some cases, a settlement may have been paid as part of a larger global settlement or for strategic or administrative purposes without rendering a finding of credibility against the accused clergy. The Settlement List presents the names of those clergy who were not found credibly accused separately from those who have been credibly accused.

5. Reporting Hotline

As a part of Judge Holzberg’s review, a confidential hotline has been established. As indicated in his attached letter, the Judge and his team want to encourage the people of the Diocese to speak to them directly regarding what they know of the past sexual abuse of minors by diocesan clergy as well the diocesan response to such abuse.

The hotline, recently announced on the diocesan website, is 1-833-990-0004 and the website on which to make an on-line report is www.lighthouse-services.com/diobpt. Despite the confidentiality of this hotline, it is critical to note that any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that has not been previously reported must be reported to civil authorities. The contact information for the Department for Children and Families is 800-842-2288 and the Office for Safe Environment for the Diocese of Bridgeport is 1-203-416-1406 or 203-650-3265.

6. Listening Sessions

Finally, as your diocesan Bishop, I am committed to hearing your concerns directly as we continue our healing journey together. To that end, I have scheduled three listening sessions at which I will be available to respond to your concerns and questions.

  • April 3, 7:30 pm at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield;
  • April 9, 7:30 pm at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull; and
  • May 1, 6:30 pm at Immaculate High School in Danbury

While there are many issues associated with this crisis to be dealt with on both the global and national levels, I remain determined to move forward with whatever tangible steps are possible to address this grave matter in the Diocese of Bridgeport. I encourage you to attend one of these listening sessions.

I have been both humbled and gratified by the steadfast support and encouragement I have received from the people of the Diocese in our common effort to heal our Diocese and our Church. Most of all, I am deeply grateful to those men and women who have suffered at the hands of their abusers and are now working actively to serve as advocates and agents of healing. Their generosity of spirit and commitment are for me both a personal inspiration and a sign of great hope.

As your Bishop, I am committed to remaining transparent and instituting whatever change is needed to better respond to those affected by abuse. I recognize that any restoration of trust will require a continued diligent effort on my part, as well as on the part of all of us who love the Church.

During these difficult days, please be assured of my prayers for you and your families. I also ask that you continue to pray for the lay leadership of the Church, our clergy and for me.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano

Bishop provides update on Accountability Report

My Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:

In my letter of September 7, 2018, I announced the urgent need for administrative action with regards to the current crisis in the Church. Several initiatives have already begun and additional initiatives are planned. I am pleased to take this opportunity to report on these efforts.

Read More ››

Retired Judge Robert Holzberg to lead Accountability Investigation

BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano today (October 3) announced that retired Connecticut Superior Court Judge Robert L. Holzberg, who is a partner in the law firm of Pullman & Comley LLC of Hartford and Bridgeport, will serve as counsel and lead investigator for the Clerical Sexual Abuse Accountability Investigation being conducted for the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Judge Holzberg, who has extensive experience as an investigator, mediator and arbitrator, will lead the Accountability Investigation by overseeing a comprehensive analysis and review of claims of clerical sexual abuse of minors, the Diocese’s knowledge of such abuse and its response to allegations and information presented to it concerning the alleged clergy abuse. As part of his investigation, Holzberg, a Middletown resident, will have complete and unrestricted access to all Diocesan files, records and archives dating from 1953, when the Diocese was founded, to the present, and the opportunity to interview Diocesan clergy and administrators with information relevant to his inquiry.

Work on the Accountability Investigation will begin immediately and is expected to be completed by Spring 2019. Judge Holzberg, who is not Catholic, will direct a team of attorneys and investigators to conduct the investigation.

Results of the investigation will be presented in a public report that will address sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Diocese of Bridgeport, along with the response of Church leadership to that abuse. The report will also contain any relevant recommendations to the Bishop resulting from the review.

“Judge Holzberg epitomizes long-term, dedicated and conscientious service to the community,” Bishop Caggiano said. “He possesses the highest integrity, and he has made substantial contributions to the administration of justice in Connecticut. We are grateful that he has agreed to lead this significant review.”

“I am committed to supervising a comprehensive, impartial and transparent investigation into clergy sexual abuse of minors and the Diocese’s response to that abuse over the past 65 years. As a condition of taking on this assignment, I met with and obtained the commitment of Bishop Caggiano that I will have full and unlimited access to all materials relevant to this investigation and that I will have full discretion to conduct this investigation as I deem appropriate. Bishop Caggiano pledged his full cooperation and commitment to this important initiative,” Holzberg said.

Prior to his retirement from the bench in 2012, Holzberg successfully mediated claims against St. Francis Hospital in Hartford involving allegations of decades long sexual abuse of minors by a hospital employee. In 2014 Holzberg was retained by the Stamford Corporation Counsel to lead an investigation into allegations that a Stamford Board of Education high school teacher was involved in a sexual relationship with her student.

The Bishop personally met with Judge Holzberg and assured him that he would have the full and unfettered access to Diocesan records and files necessary for a comprehensive review.

Bishop Caggiano announced plans for the Accountability Investigation on September 7 in response to the national clerical sexual abuse crisis and failures of Church leadership in accountability and transparency.

His letter was read in parishes throughout the diocese and widely distributed through the diocesan newspaper, website, and social media. He announced plans for the report and outlined some of the spiritual and administrative actions that the diocese will take to ensure transparency and accountability.

“My hope is that these measures will begin to heal the wounds that we feel and address the legitimate desire for real change that restores confidence in every level of leadership,” he said.

The Bishop also committed to presenting a financial report on settlement amounts for past claims of clergy sexual abuse of minors from the establishment of the diocese to date. The report will include sources from which funds were obtained to settle claims and provide an account of the financial support currently given to any priest who has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor and who is currently on administrative leave or has been laicized. The report will be released on October 31.

“These measures also build upon the extensive work we have done since 2002 to reach out to and support survivors of clergy sexual abuse in addition to providing the training and safeguards to protect our children and ensure that adults recognize the warning signs of any potential abuse,” Bishop Caggiano said.

“I believe that the Church is facing a moment of crisis that demands honesty and repentance from the bishops and decisive action to ensure that these failures will never happen again,” Bishop Caggiano said.

 

About Judge Holzberg (Ret.)

Retired Judge Robert Holzberg leads the Alternative Dispute Resolution practice at the law firm of Pullman & Comley, LLC. He has extensive experience serving as a mediator and arbitrator in civil matters in state and federal court, including personal injury, employment, construction, environmental, probate, insurance, intellectual property and commercial disputes.

He retired from the bench in September 2012 after more than 22 years of service as a Superior Court judge.

He was appointed to the Superior Court in 1990 by Gov. William O’Neill. While on the bench, he served as the presiding judge for civil matters in the Middlesex, New Britain and Waterbury judicial districts. During his career, he earned a reputation for his skill in crafting settlements in some of Connecticut’s highest profile and most complex cases and became one of the state’s most sought-after mediators.

He has received several awards, including the 2011 Connecticut Bar Association’s Henry J. Naruk Award for distinguished service and the 2005 Hon. Robert F. Zampano Award for Excellence in Mediation. In 1998, he received the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association Judicial Award.

Before his appointment to the bench, he was on the faculty of the University of Connecticut School of Law and also served as an Assistant Public Defender in the Office of the Chief Public Defender. He is a frequent speaker and author on the topic of mediation and arbitration. He has been an invited speaker on ADR strategies for the Practicing Law Institute, the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, the Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association and the Hartford County Bar Association. Holzberg serves as co-chair with Retired Chief Justice Chase Rogers of Day Pitney LLP of Connecticut Lawyers for Immigration Justice. www.ctjustice.org

Pullman & Comley will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019 and is one of Connecticut’s largest firms, providing a wide range of legal services to clients in the New England region, as well as throughout the United States and internationally. The firm has offices in Bridgeport, Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury, and Westport, Connecticut and White Plains, New York. The firm is an active member of the Law Firm Alliance, an international affiliation of law firms. For more information, please visit www.pullcom.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Brian Wallace, Director of Communications
Diocese of Bridgeport
Email: bdwallace@diobpt.org
Phone: 203.416.1464

Sally Laroche
Pullman & Comley, LLC
Email: slaroche@pullcom.com
Phone: 203.330.2007

Bishop Caggiano’s Statement on Abuse Crisis

OFFICE OF THE BISHOP

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As the recent scandalous events regarding the crimes of sexual abuse against minors have come to light in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report and the earlier revelations regarding Archbishop McCarrick, I have been sick to my stomach. Words like horrifying, betrayal, and diabolical come to mind describing the evil abuse that was perpetrated against children, who were robbed of their innocence, and often of their faith and future. The failure of some bishops to report this evil is equally stunning and deeply sinful.

I believe that the Church is facing a moment of crisis that demands honesty and repentance from the bishops and decisive action to ensure that these failures will never happen again. The credibility of the bishops has been tarnished in the eyes of many, including many of our faithful. For some, it has even provoked a personal crisis of confidence in the Church itself, leading some to consider leaving their parishes. This is a wound that has been inflicted upon the Church that will not heal easily.

I invite you to join me to accompany one another during this time of sadness and anger and to strengthen one another in our Catholic faith. The strengthening of faith requires that the bishops of the Church acknowledge past failings among their brother bishops and hold everyone guilty accountable for their failures and crimes, whomever they may be.

The betrayal we feel concerning the cover-up of abuse pales in comparison to the suffering endured by the victims of sexual abuse—our sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, relatives and friends, who have been so deeply wounded and have struggled with the lifelong consequences of abuse. To those who suffered the evil of abuse, I wish to say that I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that you have endured. I am sorry for the times that you came forward and were not heard. I am sorry for the silence of those who could have stopped what you endured. I am sorry that you were betrayed at the hands of those who were to serve as your fathers in faith.

We stand with you and will continue to accompany you with our prayers and resources to find healing and peace. We must make this a defining moment for all those who have suffered, by doing everything humanly possible to root out the sin of sexual abuse from our Church.

Over the past few days, I have read intently many of the concrete proposals that bishops and lay leaders have put forward to address the past failures in leadership and to strengthen the measures already in place ensuring that our children, young people and vulnerable adults are safe and can flourish in our midst. Some of the proposals are innovative and merit greater reflection. It is my hope and prayer that through honest dialogue and careful reflection, the Church’s clerical and lay leaders on every level can create a plan to bring purification and renewal to our Church.

Despite the raw emotions that we may be feeling during this difficult time, I would encourage us to resist the impulse to despair or dismiss the sacrificial work of so many good priests whom you have come to know in your life of faith. For our good priests are also suffering because of the sins of their brothers.

It is also important that we not lose sight of the tremendous protections now in place in our diocese and other dioceses across the country. For over fifteen years, our Safe Environment programs have been effective in preventing abuse, encouraging early reporting, and ensuring swift removal of perpetrators through the Diocesan Review Board. Contact information for our Safe Environment Office can be found on the diocesan website and in the back of the Church. In our Diocese, we have also established a Misconduct Review Board, composed principally of lay members, to review any allegations of adult misconduct on the part of clergy.

Perhaps we have never been so aware of our frailty. Yet, while this is a serious time of challenge and crisis in the Church, there is always hope. I don’t come to you with an easy solution to a complex evil, but I believe that if we move forward in the solidarity of faith, a spirit of transparency and commitment to absolute accountability, we will renew the Church.

My friends, I am praying for you and your families each day at Mass during this difficult time. Please pray for me and my brother priests as well.

May the great Mother of God, our protector and intercessor, accompany us as we move forward to purify and renew our Church.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano Bishop of Bridgeport

Bishop Caggiano Letter 8-18-18 ESPANOL[2].pdf

INSTRUCCIONES PARA DENUNCIAR 2018 sospecha de abuso (1)[3].pdf