Jan 21, 2020

Demonstrators to demand Fall River Diocese release names of clergy accused of sexual abuse

The Herald News
January 20, 2020

FALL RIVER -- The leader of a charity that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families is calling for a demonstration Tuesday outside the headquarters of the Diocese of Fall River to demand the bishop release the names of clergymen who have been accused of sexual abuse.

The call comes days after the diocese announced that two retired priests have been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, said to have occurred decades ago.

“It is time for Bishop Edgar da Cunha of the Diocese of Fall River, MA, to release the complete list of clergymen who have been accused of sexually abusing children, teenagers, and vulnerable adults,” Robert M. Hoatson, co-founder and president of New Jersey-based Road to Recovery, said in a press release Monday. “His refusal to release the list re-victimizes innocent victims and does not help children remain safe.”

The demonstration is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 11:30 a.m. outside the headquarters of the Diocese of Fall River, 450 Highland Ave.

According to a diocese press release, the suspended priests are Father James F. Buckley and Father Edward J. Byington. Byington served as an assistant priest at St. George Parish in Westport from 1982 to 1984.

The separate, unrelated claims of abuse were referred to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and remain under investigation by the diocese. Both priests have denied the allegations. The suspension from ministry is required by diocesan policies. The diocese is committed to resolving both cases in a fair and expeditious manner, the press release stated.

Hoatson describes himself as a former priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, and a victim/survivor of clergy sexual abuse.

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