Springfield Diocese promises transparency after alter boy murder investigation closes

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The cold case of Danny Croteau has unexpectedly been closed.

The 13-year-old altar boy was murdered and investigators determined that former Catholic priest Richard Lavigne was the last person who saw the boy. However, his death last week means Lavigne will never be prosecuted. The surprising news of Lavigne’s death also grabbed the attention of Bishop William Byrne who addressed clergy abuse and how the catholic church can move forward.

“It should never have happened and it should never have been allowed to happen,” said Bishop Byrne. “So I offer my apologies and my sincerest offer to do whatever we can do to bring healing.”

Bishop Byrne told 22News the diocese will release the list of all priests accused of sexual abuse, next week. There are no new names, but he hopes this shows to the public they aren’t hiding anything. He has sent a letter to all homes in the diocese explaining the expanded online listing of credibly accused and to encourage anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse by clergy or any personnel of the diocese, to report directly to law enforcement as well as to the diocese’s Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance

“Since my very first day, I’ve been committed to communication and transparency in regards to this issue,” said Bishop Byrne. “You can’t build trust if people don’t think you have been completely honest.”

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni is also reminding any victim of clergy abuse that they can always come forward and report it confidentially, through their clergy sexual abuse hotline at (413) 800-2958.

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