October 17, 2021

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Retired Decide Daniel Ford steps down from diocesan activity drive on clergy abuse

SPRINGFIELD — Citing a consulting position with a law business intently involved with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, retired Judge Daniel A. Ford stepped down Friday from its 10-member Activity Drive on the Response to Sexual Abuse.

The diocese made the announcement just about a year following Ford, a retired Hampden Exceptional Court docket decide, was named to guide the panel. The job force was shaped last Might in response to a report issued by yet another retired judge, Peter Velis, on the diocese’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse by late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon. A Chicopee guy arrived forward with allegations Weldon and two other monks continuously raped him when he was a youngster in the 1960s.

Velis issued a bruising report in June finding the man’s allegations credible, and criticizing the diocese’s original response to the complaint. The late bishop’s likeness and identify were being stripped from destinations in the course of the diocese and his overall body exhumed from a notable location in a Springfield cemetery — to be relocated to a lesser location with a plain headstone.

The job power was fashioned by former Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, who has considering that been named archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri. Bishop William D. Byrne replaced Rozanski in the Springfield diocese, which covers all four western counties.

The diocese made the announcement about Ford’s departure Friday as the task pressure approaches the latter stages of its function, a spokeswoman explained.

“Having concluded its facts and info selection course of action, Judge Ford knowledgeable his colleagues that he experienced been retained to offer guidance in a civil make a difference, possessing practically nothing to do with the Diocese of Springfield, but involving Egan, Flanagan, and Cohen, Computer system the Springfield legislation agency which also represents the diocese,” diocesan spokeswoman Carolee McGrath claimed.

Ford reported he acquiesced to the suggestion that he move down, even nevertheless he did not check out his arrangement with the regulation firm as problematic.

“While my operate with the legislation company did not constitute a conflict of curiosity as recommended by lawful requirements, in talking about this issue with the Process Pressure customers it became apparent to me that customers of the team did have fears. In recognition of that suggestions and offered the sensitivity of the subject matter make any difference becoming regarded, even the appearance of a conflict, experienced the prospective of compromising the credibility of the Activity Force’s operate,” Ford mentioned in a statement.

The retired decide submitted his resignation to Byrne, helpful instantly.

The bishop thanked Ford for his attempts and integrity.

“I am most grateful to Choose Ford for getting guided the Process Drive by its info accumulating perform these earlier months and his tireless advocacy of the Undertaking Drive in the news media. He has demonstrated a wonderful knowledge for the will need of the Endeavor Force’s work to be previously mentioned any reproach, stepping down from function that he had totally fully commited himself to considering that previous June,” Byrne claimed.

Ford’s resignation arrives days after the diocese was rocked by a break in the 49-calendar year-aged murder investigation into the death of altar boy Daniel “Danny” Croteau.

Although defrocked priest Richard Lavigne died just before he could be billed, Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni disclosed Monday that investigators decided the 13-calendar year-aged Croteau died at the fingers of Lavigne. The former priest did not confess to killing the baby, but admitted to investigators using Croteau to a place together the Chicopee River, physically assaulting him there and afterwards observing his system in the drinking water.

Up coming 7 days, the diocese also is anticipated to launch an up-to-date list of monks and lay personnel who have experienced credible allegations of sexual abuse leveled against them.

The undertaking pressure will take into consideration a transition of leadership at its June 2 conference, McGrath explained.

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