SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A non-profit charity called Road to Recovery, Inc. held a news conference outside of the Springfield Diocese headquarters Tuesday morning.
Dr. Robert Hoatson, President and Co-founder of Road to Recovery, a non-profit that assists victims of sexual abuse, demanded answers into the 1972 murder case of Danny Croteau.
“So Bishop Byrne, what do you know about all that has gone on here for the last 49 years? We would like to see all that information,” said Dr. Hoatson.
The organization based in New Jersey is calling on the Diocese of Springfield to release all the information it has on Richard Lavgine, who was suspected of killing Danny Croteau nearly a half century ago. It was announced Monday that the murder case is closed because Lavigne died last week in Greenfield. The nonprofit claims that for nearly 50 years the Diocese of Springfield has covered up information on it has in secret files about Richard Lavigne and other clergy. Now, they are calling on Bishop Byrne to release that information.
“Do what District Attorney Gulluni did yesterday and tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” said Dr. Hoatson.
The Springfield Diocese responded to Dr. Hoatson and his attempt to get more information on Lavigne.
“The diocese handed all information requested and witnesses to the Grand Jury. That included 10,000 pages of documents and testimony.”Springfield Diocese
District Attorney Anthony Gulluni announced Monday that investigators are confident that if Lavigne was still alive, they’d have enough evidence to charge him with the murder of 13-year-old Danny Croteau.
Lavigne died last Friday, the same day Gulluni approved a warrant for his arrest. The case has been hanging over the Catholic community in Springfield for almost five decades.
Bishop William Byrne said this is a reminder the church must do better, “We will do everything we possibly can to make sure that the church is a safe place for all people. We can’t rewrite history but we can make the future one that children are safe where they should be in the church.”
Bishop Byrne added that any survivors of of clergy sexual abuse are encouraged to come forward, even if the abuser is dead, because it’s important that survivors be heard.
Those victims can call the abuse reporting phone line at 800-842-9055 or email the Diocese of Springfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.