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Diocese Of Cheyenne Announces Names Of Substantiated Abusers

The Wyoming Catholic Register

In the June issue of the Wyoming Catholic Register, the Diocese of Cheyenne announced the names of 11 clergy members it says were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

In a letter published Wednesday, Bishop Steven Biegler disclosed 10 clergy accused of child sexual abuse and one for the abuse of a vulnerable adult. They worked in Wyoming between 1950 and the present. The last reported act of sexual abuse occurred in 2003.

In his written statement, Biegler explained how he hoped transparency would help to prevent future abuse and start to restore trust.

"Sexual abuse is terribly disturbing, but even more disturbing is that the leaders failed at times at least to do what's right," Biegler said during an interview with WPR.

He said both abusers and those that turn their backs on victims need to be held accountable.

Casper resident Connor Novotny was raised Catholic and continues to be heavily involved in the church. He says when he saw the announcement, he felt a sense of pride and hope for increased transparency from the church moving forward.

"I think that's a baseline expectation and something that's not always met. And I'm proud of our diocese for doing these things, and I'm hopeful also that it moves in a direction of healing," said Novotny.

The announcement from Bishop Biegler reiterated that in addition to its own investigations into abuse, the Diocese of Cheyenne also refers allegations to law enforcement, according to state and church policies.

Former Bishop Joseph Hart, who was named on the list, is currently under investigation by the Cheyenne Police.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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