Thursday, January 9, 2003

Rockville Centre issues denials

The Diocese of Rockville Centre, in its official newspaper, denies that a top official asked the Rev. Michael Hands to lie about his charges that he was molested as a teenager by Msgr. Charles "Bud" Ribaudo.

The Long Island Catholic article published yesterday, however, headlined "Diocese denies charges printed last week," reveals that there are additional allegations of sexual abuse against Ribaudo, a popular Oyster Bay pastor who retired in March.



Ribaudo continues to strongly deny any abuse allegation whether it is from Hands or others, said Wesley Wood, a marketing executive and trustee of St. Dominic parish, who is serving as a spokesman for Ribaudo. "Totally, absolutely, he denies any sexual contact with anyone," said Wood. He said he discussed the Long Island Catholic article by telephone with Ribaudo, who is traveling in Florida. "He hasn't had a chance to defend himself" in any diocesan tribunal, Wood said.

...The Long Island Catholic article affirms that Murphy removed Ribaudo, a popular priest and prolific fund-raiser, from ministry in March 2002, after the mushrooming sex abuse scandal in Boston forced the new bishop to review the files of Nassau and Suffolk priests. Murphy, after asking for "a more extensive analysis," began a "conversation" with Ribaudo. "At that point, Monsignor Ribaudo asked for permission to retire because he could not simultaneously manage his health, the stress associated with the allegations, and the running of the parish," according to the article.

The article goes on to say that after Hands' charges became public in April 2002, "new allegations came forth" and were reported to the appropriate civil authorities. The diocese does not make mention of who made the charges, or how many there were or when the abuse allegedly occurred. Legal sources in and outside the diocese, however, said there are at least six and possibly as many as a dozen other complaints against Ribaudo.





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