Bishop Weldon Hale Resigns
SPRINGFIELD — The chairman of the Springfield Catholic Diocese’s volunteer Review Board resigned in the wake of the release of a report finding late Bishop Christopher Weldon raped a young boy.
John Hale, who served on the volunteer board that hears clergy abuse allegations for 14 years, said he resigned in disgust in the wake of the report, authored by retired Judge Peter A. Velis at the request of the diocese.
The report was released in late June, rocked the local church and will prompt the purging of Weldon’s name from a medical building, his photographs stripped from walls and his body exhumed and banished to a less prominent place in Gates of Heaven Cemetery.
Hale said he believed conversations he had with diocesan officials when the scandal broke and during the investigation were mischaracterized.
“The church should not throw people under the bus, and that’s what they did … they threw the Diocesan Review Board under the bus and made it look like we were at fault,” Hale said, citing instances in the report where he believed his position on a victim’s accounts of his abuse by Weldon and other priests were “twisted.”
Hale, a retired U.S. Air Force member and Hampden County Sheriff’s Department employee from Chicopee, said even more than that, his experience over the Weldon matter triggered his decision to leave the Catholic church altogether.