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N.H. Bishop Accused Of Sexual Abuse In 1980s

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Diocese Of Manchester via NHPR
Bishop Anthony Libasci of the Diocese of Manchester

Bishop Peter Libasci, the leader of New Hampshire’s Catholic Church, has been accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1980s.

A lawsuit filed in Suffolk County, N.Y., claims Libasci repeatedly abused a boy who attended a New York church where Libasci served as a priest and says the church and an affiliated school in Deer Park where Libasci also worked were negligent for allowing the abuse to occur.

Libasci is denying the allegations, according to the Associated Press. On Saturday, his lawyer issued a statement saying the bishop will "vigorously defend" against the accusations

The suit alleges Libasci used his position of power to abuse the child, who was 12 or 13 at the time, and that the church and the school “knew, or reasonably should have known, or knowingly condoned or covered up inappropriate and unlawful sexual activities.”

In a statement, the Diocese of Manchester said, “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 statement read.

Libasci was ordained in 1978. He’s been the Bishop of Manchester since 2011, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. Before that, he served as Auxiliary Bishop in Rockville Center, N.Y., and as a priest in multiple Long Island parishes.

This article was originally published on NHPR.org.

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