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MANCHESTER, New Hampshire, July 22, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New England Catholic bishop has been accused of sexually abusing a minor while he was a parish priest.
Bishop Peter Anthony Libasci of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire is alleged to have fondled and groped a child’s genitals on “numerous occasions in 1983 and 1984, when the alleged victim was 12 or 13-years-old,” according to a report by local news outlet WMUR.
Libasci was pastor at Saints Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Church in Deer Park, New York when the alleged abuse took place. The alleged victim was a student at Saints Cyril and Methodius School at the time. The Sisters of Saint Joseph who operated the school are also named in the lawsuit.
The WMUR report continues:
The lawsuit alleges negligence by the school and church because Libasci was put in a position of power at the church. It alleges he used that power to allegedly abuse the child. Lawyers allege the church and school knew or reasonably should have known, knowingly condoned, or covered up the alleged inappropriate and unlawful activities.
The alleged victim continues to suffer physical and psychological injuries, including significant emotional distress, problems sleeping and concentrating and feelings of worthlessness, shamefulness and embarrassment, according to an MSN.com report.
“Following standard protocol, the matter has been reported to civil authorities,” diocese officials said in a statement to WMUR.
In an official communique sent to LifeSiteNews, the Diocese of Manchester said that the “status” of the Bishop “remains unchanged.”
The Diocese of Manchester was informed of the filing of a civil lawsuit wherein Bishop Peter A. Libasci was named. This lawsuit alleges sexual abuse of a minor dating back to 1983/84 in the state of New York. At this time, the status of the Bishop remains unchanged. Following standard protocol, the matter has been reported to civil authorities.
Because this is an ongoing matter and out of respect for the individuals involved, the Diocese will not be providing additional information at this time but will provide updates when we are able to do so.
The Manchester Diocese maintains a website which names 73 priests associated with the diocese who were accused of sexual abuse against minors from 1950 until 2002. The diocese claims never to have received any reports of sexual abuse of a minor by a permanent deacon or bishop, or by a priest since 2002.
According to his online biography, Libasci was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 1978 and appointed an auxiliary bishop by Pope Benedict XV in 2007. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Libasci as the tenth Bishop of Manchester in September, 2011.
This story is developing.