Official Statement On Active Litigation
Nazareth Farm, Inc. cares deeply about its role as a leader on justice issues related to our Faith.
Nazareth Farm, Inc. also acknowledges, and has acknowledged, that part of its history includes actions of a former priest associated with the Farm who harmed children and sexually assaulted them.
David Pichette, who was assigned by the Diocese of Syracuse in 1979 to minister to and help develop Nazareth Farm, has been determined to have abused children. A lawsuit was recently filed related to his actions. There are credible accusations against David Pichette, who served as Director of Nazareth Farm from 1979 – 1989. He has not been an active priest since 1993 and was formally dismissed from the priesthood in 2005. While Nazareth Farm, Inc. was first incorporated in 1995, and is different from the Dioceses’ ministry at the time of the incidents, we consider this to be a painful part of our past and something Nazareth Farm, Inc. feels called to acknowledge.
Nazareth Farm, Inc. implemented the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and did our first formal Protecting God’s Children Training in 2003 when it was first nationally released. Nazareth Farm, Inc.’s policies were also updated to reflect necessary practices for safe environment. All staff, board members, sojourners, and adult volunteers are required to show Nazareth Farm, Inc. and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston proof of their Protecting God’s Children (Virtus) Training and background checks. The staff and Board of Directors regularly evaluate our safety protocol to ensure we strictly adhere to best practices and ongoing procedural updates. We have updated our dormitory to give additional privacy to both youth and adults while maintaining appropriate chaperone responsibilities. We consider our responsibility of protecting children something that is never completed but is instead a continual process.
Like so many of you, we are wrestling with the big questions of our time: who are we, who do we want to be, how can we use the lessons of our past to inform our future? We are resolved to move forward with transparency, integrity, and pastoral care. Our mission matters and it transforms lives; that has not changed.
In all this we commit to standing in solidarity with all victims of sexual abuse. We are envisioning and planning a future for Nazareth Farm, Inc. that both recognizes the complexity of our past and the promise of our future. Our staff, director, and Board of Directors are committed to building a path forward that enables reconciliation and healing for victims of abuse, and particularly anyone who was harmed at Nazareth Farm. As we develop our commitments, we will transparently and proactively communicate. We invite you to stand alongside us, rooted in our cornerstones, as we discern the right next steps.
If you or someone you know needs to report abuse or suspected abuse, please take action. Call law enforcement, or contact the victim assistance coordinators of your Diocese. Here are some contact numbers to assist you:
● RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) 800-656-HOPE (4673)
● West Virginia Child Protective Services: 1-800-352-6513
● Doddridge County Sheriff’s number: 1-304-873-1944
● Phone numbers for every diocese can be found here: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/victim-assistance-coordinators.cfm
● The number for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Victim Assistance Coordinator Dr. Patricia Bailey is 304-242-6988.
● Since David Pichette was a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse, the Victim Assistance Coordinator is Jacqueline Bressette, 315-470-1465.