Brooklyn: ‘Vos estis’ Investigation Charges Bishop Chappetto for Placing Minors at Risk

According to the investigation, Bishop Chappetto of Broklyn failed to inform a local pastor that a priest was prohibited from having contact with minors, despite the bishop’s supervisory responsibility for him.

Newsroom (23/03/2022 5:15 PM Gaudium Press) Bishop Raymond Chappetto retired last month as auxiliary bishop and vicar general in the Brooklyn diocese. He is now the subject of a Vatican-ordered investigation under the terms of Vos estis lux mundi.

The complaint alleges two instances of administrative misconduct on the part of Chappetto. Both concern a Brooklyn priest, Fr. ​​Uririoghene Okrokoto, who was prohibited from contact with minors in August 2019, after allegations of “boundary violations and grooming” with teenage girls, according to the complaint filed against the bishop.

After he was sent to the St. Luke’s Institute for mental health treatment, Fr. Okrokoto was assigned ‘on residence’ at a Brooklyn parish in June 2021.

But according to the Vos estis complaint, Chappetto failed to inform the pastor at Okrokoto’s rectory that the priest was prohibited from having contact with minors, despite the bishop’s supervisory responsibility for him.

Within months of his assignment there, Okrokoto was seen at the parish in the company of a teenage girl, in violation of the penal precept that prohibited him from contacting minors. He was removed again from ministry in October 2021 and remains suspended in the Brooklyn diocese.

After Fr. Okrokoto was suspended, chancery officials discovered that Bishop Chappetto had received in September 2020 a memo from the parish where Okrokoto had lived between 2018 and 2021.

The parish pastor complained that despite the mental health treatment he had received, Okrokoto continued to spend time in the company of teenage girls, “as he used to do before he went to St. Luke.”

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The pastor also warned that in 2019 Okrokoto was regularly visiting classes in the parish school, despite the prohibition of contact or ministry with minors.

“In my view, it will be very difficult for him to have a place in any rectory,” the pastor wrote.

According to the Vos estis complaint, “Bishop Chappetto never shared this information with the Diocesan Review Board, Diocesan Investigator, the Vicar for Canonical Affairs or the Vice Chancellor…who assists the Vicar of Canonical Affairs in all matters related to the Bishops’ Charter, which would be a direct violation of Article 1, B of Vos estis lux mundi.

While the Vos estis investigation is looking into Bishop Chappetto’s procedures, questions have also been raised in Brooklyn about Bishop Robert Brennan’s decision to reappoint Chappetto as diocesan vicar general after the complaint against him was filed.

Bishop Brennan was installed Dec. 1 as Brooklyn’s bishop, and was reportedly informed soon after regarding the complaint against Bishop Chappetto. Nevertheless, the bishop reappointed Chappetto as vicar general, his chief deputy, and allowed him to remain in that position until his March retirement.

(Via The Pillar)

Compiled by Raju Hasmukh

 

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