Updated: July 06, 2020 06:21 PM
Created: July 06, 2020 05:02 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — What did he know and when did he know it?
That's what attorneys for the victims of priest sex abuse were trying to find out from former Bishop of the Rochester Diocese, Matthew Clark during a recent deposition.
The transcript of that deposition was just filed.
News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke has been reading through it.
The transcript is 145 pages long and the deposition lasted three hours. Bishop Clark was in frail health while providing it.
His doctor was there with him to monitor his condition as he answered questions as part of the diocese's bankruptcy filing.
Bishop Clark was asked about dozens of priests by name and whether he was aware of sexual misconduct allegations against them.
In many instances, the bishop said yes, he was aware and would meet with an accused priest, and in many instances, those priests actually admitted to their wrong-doings.
Then, the bishop said, he would decide whether to send them to a rehabilitation program or have him meet with a psychologist.
In some instances, after that treatment, priests were returned to ministry. When asked why he would assign someone who had been accused of sexual misconduct back to a church, he said it's "not a cookie-cutter type of thing."
Here's what Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney representing the victims had to say about this deposition:
"Well, on a moral level, it helps victims try to heal, and realize the clergy sexual abuse victims did nothing wrong, that they should be proud of themselves. Because of their coming forward, they are helping reveal the ugly truth about how the Catholic Church covered up the wholesale sexual abuse of children. On another level, it shows that Bishop Clark knew the pedophile priests were abusing and he disregarded the, uh, the need to protect innocent children."
in a statement we just got from the diocese, a spokesman says in part:
"While any individual would have difficulty providing accurate memory of events that occurred over a period of more than 33 years, Bishop Clark was further hindered by his struggle with early Alzheimer's disease.
As a result of these limitations, the deposition is in many instances imprecise and inaccurate and thus calls into question whether it is a credible addition to the bankruptcy case record."
There was also talk in the deposition about a secret archive maintained by the Rochester Diocese. Bishop Clark said over his 32-year tenure, he knew of only seven people who had access to it. Attorneys are still working to recover more records from the diocese.
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