Fox News Flash top headlines for August 25
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what’s clicking on Foxnews.com.
- Retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart, of Cheyenne, has died at the age of 91.
- Hart was cleared by the Vatican after being accused of abusing multiple minors.
- Hart’s successor was disappointed in the Vatican’s finding and pointed out that the Vatican’s ruling doesn’t mean Hart is innocent.
A former U.S. bishop cleared by the Vatican of multiple allegations he sexually abused minors and teenagers, after a review board under his diocese in Wyoming found that allegations against him were credible, has died.
Retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart, of Cheyenne, died Wednesday, according to the Diocese of Cheyenne. He was 91.
Hart long maintained his innocence, denying all allegations of misconduct. In 2021, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cleared him of seven accusations of abuse and determined that five others couldn’t be proven with certainty.
AIR FORCE FINDS NO HARMFUL LEVELS OF CARCINOGENIC PCB CHEMICAL INSIDE WYOMING MISSILE LAUNCH FACILITIES
Two other cases involving boys who were 16 and 17 couldn’t be prosecuted because the Catholic Church didn’t consider them minors at the time of the alleged abuse. The Vatican decree didn’t address another alleged victim.
Hart’s attorney, Thomas Jubin, at the time called some of the allegations “specious,” based on second- and third-hand information and some accusers emphasizing that Hart didn’t physically touch them.
Rev. Joseph Hart dispenses communion during an outdoor Mass celebrated for participants of the Basque Festival in Buffalo, Wyoming, on Sept. 19, 1988. (AP Photo/Dean Wariner,File)
But the Vatican findings disappointed Hart’s successor, Wyoming Bishop Steven Biegler, who pointed out that they didn’t mean Hart was innocent, only that a high burden of proof hadn’t been met.
MAN INJURED IN GRIZZLY BEAR ATTACK WHILE SURVEYING WYOMING FOREST
Biegler stood by the findings of a diocese review board appointed after he became bishop that determined six claims were credible. The board included a judge who, as a prosecutor, pursued criminal cases of child sexual abuse.
Hart was a priest in Kansas City, Missouri, for 20 years before moving to Wyoming, where he served as auxiliary and then full bishop from 1976 until his retirement in 2001.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The first known allegations against Hart dated to the early 1960s and were made in the late 1980s. At least six men have come forward in the past several years to say Hart abused them in Wyoming.
Hart’s previous diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph reached court settlements years ago with at least 10 victims. Prosecutors in Wyoming decided in 2020 not to proceed with charging Hart.