The Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne has determined that three new allegations of child sexual abuse against a former Wyoming bishop are credible and substantiated. The allegations of child sexual abuse against Emeritus Bishop Joseph Hart allegedly occurred in the 1970s and '80s.
The new accusations came after the Cheyenne Diocese declared that three previous allegations against Hart were determined to be credible in 2018.
In a Tuesday press release, the Diocese of Cheyenne said Bishop Hart declined to be interviewed about the accusations, although Hart has maintained that the charges are false. The Cheyenne Diocese said it forwarded its information to law enforcement authorities, and last month Cheyenne police recommended charges against an unnamed member of Wyoming Catholic clergy and another person seeking membership in the clergy during the 1970s and '80s. Earlier this year, allegations against Hart were forwarded to the Vatican for possible disciplinary action.
In a statement, current Cheyenne Bishop Steven Biegler reiterated that the Catholic Church is committed to responding promptly and with justice to accusations of sexual abuse. He applauded victims who have come forward and said their courageous action helps address these terrible crimes. He said it helps other victims also find their voice. Hart served as the Cheyenne Bishop from 1978 until his retirement in 2001.