Sorrell Receives No Information from Diocese

04/12/02 12:00AM By Steve Zind



(Host) Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell came away empty handed Thursday from a meeting with the Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

VPR's Steve Zind reports.


(Zind) Sorrell says he is disappointed with the Burlington Diocese response to his request that it turn over all the information it has on sexual misconduct allegations against priest and other diocese employees. Sorrell says the diocese told him it will turn over some information within thirty days. But the diocese will only provide on sexual misconduct dating back to 1982.

(Sorrell) "Legally are they required to do it? Under current law, they are not. But is it the right thing to do? I don't think that's a close call. I think the diocese here should be just as forthcoming with this kind of information as has happened with the Archdiocese in New York, has happened in Maine, has happened in the Archdiocese in Boston. And their limitation of only going back to 1982 and not before, to us, seems inconsistent with a position that says that we've made mistakes and we want to right those wrongs and we want to make sure we know if any of our personnel are or have been involved in misconduct."

(Zind) Sorrell says his office has received at least a dozen calls from people alleging sexual misconduct by Vermont priests. He says at least one allegation involves a priest still active.

Sorrell says without the cooperation of the diocese it will be difficult for his office to investigate and prosecute allegations against priests. He also says it will be difficult to force the diocese to turn over information. Sorrell says because of the diocese reluctance to provide information, he plans to go to the legislature to request that members of the clergy be included in law requiring mandatory reporting of sexual abuse allegations.

For Vermont Public Radio, I'm Steve Zind in Montpelier.
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