"A third individual reported that he, too, was sexually abused by Bishop Hart in 1980," the diocese said. This third person reported the abuse after the diocese's announcement there was "credible and substantiated" evidence that Bishop Hart had abused two Wyoming boys.
Police in Cheyenne recommended last month that two clerics accused of sexually abusing male juveniles in the 1970s and '80s be charged. The clerics were unnamed in the police's release, though the investigation stams from a case initiated in 2002 that was reopened in 2018.
Also last month, four new sex abuse allegations were raised against Bishop Hart, spanning his time both as a priest in Missouri and a bishop in Wyoming. Each of these alleged victims were Missouri residents.
In its Sept. 10 statement, the Cheyenne diocese noted that while new norms authorize the metropolitan archbishop to oversee investigations of allegations against bishops, Bishop Biegler "was directed to complete the investigation … upon consultation with the Holy See," as his diocese had already begun an investigation.
The local Church added that its investigations "included asking Bishop Hart for an interview to respond to the accusation," but that he "declined to be interviewed."
Bishop Hart has denied accusations of abusing minors.
His first accusers came forward in 1989, when he was alleged to have abused boys while serving as a priest in Kansas City. Ten individuals named Hart in lawsuits related to child sexual abuse claims dating from the 1970s. These accusations were part of settlements the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph reached in 2008 and 2014, though Bishop Hart denied the accusations, the Missouri diocese has said.
Bishop Hart was ordained a priest for the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese in 1956, where he served until he was named an auxiliary bishop in Cheyenne in 1976, and appointed to lead the diocese two years later. He served as Bishop of Cheyenne until his resignation in 2001 at the age of 70.
In June the Cheyenne diocese released a list of substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against minors or vulnerable adults. The release listed allegations against 11 clerics who had served in the diocese.