William Lori was bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, from 2001-2012.
Lori then became Archbishop of the Diocese of Baltimore from 2012 to the present.
In 2018, Bishop Frank Caggiano commissioned Pullman & Comley to investigate sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Retired Connecticut Judge Robert Holzberg led the one-year investigation.
The CT Attorney General was not involved.
On October 1, 2019, Holzberg released his report.
He identified 281 victims who made “credible” claims of sexual abuse over 66 years. He found 71 priests “credibly accused” since 1953.
Holzberg’s report defined “credibly accused” as having “substantial evidence,” a lower standard than a preponderance of the evidence.
Holzberg credited Bishop Lori for reversing the Bridgeport Diocese’s approach to reporting sexual abuse.
In 2002, Bishop Lori initiated a review of priests’ personnel files and removed priests from the ministry – instead of reassigning them -after credible allegations of sexual abuse of youths.
He put their names on a website.
In 2018, Bishop Lori’s Baltimore Diocese was investigated.
The Diocese did not call for it, but law enforcement did.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh investigated priests who abused minors. Archbishop Lori turned over more than 100,000 pages of documents.
In 2022, the AG report claimed 600 victims over 80 years. The AG identified 158 Roman Catholic priests in Baltimore who were credibly accused.
Of the 158, the state had already prosecuted 115 priests.
Frosh said there were likely hundreds more victims, because sexual assaults often go unreported.
Both investigations found that the Church in the 20th century tried to keep abuses secret. They failed to take action or report abuse. They did not conduct adequate investigations or remove abusers from the ministry.
The Church did everything it could to keep abuses from the press and abusers out of court.
In CT, the Attorney General seemed to have no appetite to investigate.
The Bridgeport Diocese policed itself.
Holzberg told the public that all information should go to Pullman and Comley Inc. and the Bridgeport Diocese.
Holzberg wrote in his report:
“I invite anyone who has additional information bearing on the findings of this report or the matters investigated to provide it to the diocese or to the investigative team at Pullman and Comley, LLC.”
The point is this: Retired Judge Holzberg was a CT judge. On his legal team is former Judge Lynda Munro, who presided over family court matters.
Holzberg also said Bishop Lori communicated a clear position against abuse and began the Diocese’s first affirmative outreach efforts to the community on sexual abuse matters…
Bishop Lori issued public apologies for the Church’s failure in responding to sexual abuse…
He… change[d] the diocesan culture by speaking to the press about abuse.
Judge Lynda Munro
If Holzberg investigated CT Family Court, how would Judge Munro fare? Did she fail to find parents credibly accused when they had more money than the accuser?
Many parents have accused the CT Family Court of covering up the sexual abuse of minors.
They flip custody from the protective parent to the parent accused of abuse, without investigating if the parent was credibly accused.
A private law firm or the CT AG should investigate CT Family Court.
A definition of “credibly accused” is needed.
The investigation into Family Court needs the same diligence Holzberg focused on the Bridgeport Diocese. Or the kind MD AG Frosh brought to bear in Baltimore.
Robert Holzberg with his state portrait.
There may be more “credibly accused” parents who went through CT Family Court than abusive priests in the Diocese.
The CT Family Court abuse system might be more significant than the priest abuse scandal.
There may be many more victims.
Before Bishop Lori, the Church in the bad old days covered abuse by reassigning priests. At least they kept them away from the children they were credibly accused of abusing.
But the CT Family Court has taken the opposite approach.
CT Family Court often grants custody to credibly accused abusers.
CT Family Court often removes the accuser-spouse from the children’s lives and forces the accuser to have supervised visitation.
At the same time, the credibly accused abuser gets unrestricted access to the children he is “credibly accused” of abusing.
CT Family Court is accused of regularly handing sexually abused children to the credibly accused abuser.
Of course, warring spouses sometimes falsely allege sexual abuse. Not every accusation is credible.
But what is the system in CT Family Court to determine credible accusations?
In CT, the system is money-driven. Everyone doing the investigation is profit driven. Attorneys, GALs, custody evaluators and mental health experts bill by the hour. The more problems there are, the more one spouse will fight with the other, the more hours they bill.
I have no evidence that lawyers or therapists have a higher moral compass than priests.
These for-profit court players rely on each other for referrals. Results drive future referrals. This is a for-profit business, not a charity.
The public must properly investigate the credibly accused parents in CT Family Court. But not by those with a conflict in determining who is “credibly” accused.
Imagine if the AG made more money based on billing hours to determine credible accusations.
Suppose the AG would make more money if he found no credible accusation. Or the reverse, he would make more if he found the accusation credible.
Or suppose the Church paid retired Judge Holzberg not to find the truth wherever it lay, but to incentivize him to find results – regardless of what — and paid him more or less dependent on what he came up with?
No matter how well-meaning the investigator may be, such a report can’t be trusted.
And no one should trust those for-profit attorneys, and their GALs, custody evaluators, and mental health experts, who all make their living billing by the hour, can be neutral investigators of credible accusations of abuse.
Case-by-case, the CT court players know which direction will make more money.
And the difference in money can be dramatically higher based on one finding over another.
The conflict is obscene, and we need a different method to investigate whether a parent or child’s claim is a “credible” accusation in Family Court.