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Bishop Coyne apologizes to victims of Burlington orphanage abuse

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 3:51 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne is apologizing to survivors of abuse following the release this week of an investigation on the former St. Joseph Orphanage in Burlington.

While Coyne says he’s relieved the investigation turned up no evidence of murder, allegations made by some former residents there, he says he is saddened about the confirmation of abuse of kids who lived there. He says the Burlington Diocese and Vermont Catholic Charities worked with investigators and have been transparent in providing all of their records.

Reporter Darren Perron: You know Bishop, back then before the priest sex abuse scandal, claims against clergy, frankly, weren’t believed. Do you believe the claims?

Bishop Christopher Coyne: I absolutely believe that children were abused at the orphanage. No one is contesting that at all. Any victim of abuse at the hands of clergy of the church is an awful thing and I can’t apologize enough. So, is the Diocese responsible though? As one of the actors at that time, along with the state, along with the families, along with the police, along with the judges, along with the sisters, the workers there, yes, we take responsibility for our share in all of this horror.

The bishop says he doesn’t expect any lawsuits against the church because the statutes of limitation on physical and emotional abuse have run out and because those accused are dead. He says the church will provide therapy to any survivor who wants it.

Watch Bishop Christopher Coyne’s interview with Darren on “You Can Quote Me” this Sunday at 7:30 a.m.

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