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Vatican clears former Kansas City priest of sex abuse claims, infuriating victims

Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart

Title: Vatican clears former Kansas City priest of sex abuse claims, infuriating victims
Author: Judy L. Thomas
Video: Jill Toyoshiba
Publisher: The Kansas City Star
Date: 25Jan2021

‘I couldn’t imagine that a man that I loved this much could do something so evil’
Susie McClernon is still dealing with the trauma of the sexual abuse her youngest brother, Kevin Hunter, suffered years ago. Hunter died in 1989.

The Vatican has exonerated former Kansas City priest and retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations that he sexually abused minors and said five others could not be proven “with moral certitude,” the Diocese of Cheyenne announced Monday.

But the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also issued a canonical rebuke to Hart “for his flagrant lack of prudence as a priest and bishop for being alone with minors in his private residence and on various trips, which could have been potential occasions endangering the ‘obligation to observe continence’ and that would ‘give rise to scandal among the faithful,’” the diocese said in a news release.

Hart also was rebuked “for his disregard of the urgent requests that he refrain from public engagements that would cause scandal among the faithful due to the numerous accusations against him and the civil and canonical investigations and processes being conducted in his regard,” the diocese’s statement said.

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