CNA Staff, Dec 8, 2020 / 11:30 am
The Bishop of Charleston, SC, has been cleared of accusations of sexual abuse by the Vatican, the diocese announced Sunday.
In a release from the Diocese of Charleston Monday, Bishop Robert Guglielmone said that a Vatican investigation had dismissed an allegation made against him dating back to the 1970s.
“As we approach the end of what has been an extremely challenging year, I am very pleased to be able to share some good news. I recently received a letter from the Papal Nuncio stating that the Vatican has determined that the sexual abuse allegation against me has no semblance of truth and is thus unfounded,” Guglielmone said in a letter dated Dec. 6.
“While not surprising to me,” the bishop said, “it is very welcomed news as it confirms what I have adamantly stated. I am innocent of the accusation that was made against me.”
Bishop Guglielmone has led the Diocese of Charleston since 2009. Prior to that, he served as a priest in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. In August 2019, Guglielmone was accused of sexual abuse in a lawsuit filed in the state of New York.
The suit was filed on Aug. 14, the first day of a one-year period where abuse survivors could file claims against their abusers or the institutions which shielded their abusers, regardless of the statute of limitations. The one-year period was created by the passage of the Child Victims Act, which changed New York’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse.
The suit alleges that Guglielmone sexually abused a young man over a period of years while he was serving as pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish in Amityville, starting in 1978. Guglielmone has repeatedly insisted that the accusations against him are completely baseless. On Aug. 16 last year, he announced he would reduce his public appearances while the case was resolved.
While insisting that the accusation had “no merit whatsoever” the bishop said last year that he did not want “to distract the focus from the important ministries of the Church in South Carolina–including creating safe environments for our children.”