Correction: An earlier version of this Associated Press article incorrectly reported that Bishop Dupre was defrocked by the Vatican in 2006. The Diocese of Springfield says Bishop Dupre was not defrocked.
Thomas Dupre, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States to be indicted on a sexual abuse claim during the flood of abuse accusations against church officials, died Dec. 30. He was 83.
The Diocese of Springfield, Mass., confirmed the death. He died outside the diocese, but the location and the cause of death weren’t disclosed.
Bishop Dupre, who became bishop of Springfield in the mid-1990s, cited health reasons for his sudden retirement in 2004. Months later, he was indicted on charges he raped two boys in the 1970s, but the case was dropped because prosecutors determined the statute of limitations had expired.
Before Bishop Dupre became bishop, he had been an aide of Bishop Joseph Maguire, who led the diocese from 1977 to 1991 and faced allegations following retirement that clergy sex abuse and a coverup of that abuse had happened on his watch.
In 2009, a man alleged in a lawsuit a known pedophile priest molested him at St. Patrick’s Parish in Williamstown, Mass., in the early 1980s, when he was a boy. He said Maguire and Bishop Dupre knew the priest had abused other boys but assigned him to the church anyway.
Bishop Dupre testified for a deposition in the man’s lawsuit but repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Bishop Dupre’s lawyer tried unsuccessfully to have the judge impound a videotape of the deposition, saying the accuser merely wanted to use it to embarrass Bishop Dupre and the church.
In 2012, a $500,000 settlement was reached. Maguire apologized for the man’s suffering, saying, “I only wish that in 1976, as a new bishop, I could have foreseen the true nature of one who violated our trust with such devastating harm to his victims.”
Maguire died in 2014 at age 95.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, which covers western Massachusetts and has more than 200,000 members, has paid more than $12 million to sex abuse victims since 2004. It said in 2008 it had paid $4.5 million to 59 victims in a settlement that included a personal donation from Bishop Dupre.
Three people who said they were abused by Bishop Dupre were included in the settlement, and the prelate gave his own money to fund a portion of payments to two victims, diocese spokesman Mark Dupont said.
— Associated Press
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