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New Hampshire congressman calls Catholic bishop a 'pedophile pimp'

By Leigh Remizowski, CNN
  • D.J. Bettencourt made the comments on his Facebook page
  • The comments follow a rally Thursday where the bishop criticized state budget cuts
  • The bishop was pressured to resign in 2003 after his diocese settled sexual abuse lawsuits

(CNN) -- The New Hampshire House majority leader lashed out Friday on his Facebook page at a Roman Catholic bishop, calling the clergyman a "pedophile pimp" who "has no moral credibility to lecture anyone."

The comments come in the wake of a rally Thursday where John McCormack, who is bishop of the Roman Catholic Manchester Diocese, criticized state budget cuts that he argued would hurt "the most vulnerable in our society," according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the diocese's website.

State Rep. D.J. Bettencourt responded with a Facebook post Friday morning that said, "Would the Bishop like to discuss his history of protecting the 'vulnerable?' This man is a pedophile pimp who should have been led away from the State House in handcuffs with a rain coat over his head in disgrace. He has absolutely no moral credibility to lecture anyone."

Critics called on McCormack to resign as bishop in 2003 when the Diocese of Manchester settled more than 170 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests in New Hampshire, though he stayed put.

He was also a top official in the Archdiocese of Boston during its sex abuse scandal.

Manchester Diocese spokesman Kevin Donovan said Bettencourt's comment was "false, defamatory and detracts from the real issue."

"Bishop McCormack's message to the people of New Hampshire yesterday was the simple message of the Gospels. The Church and our broader society have a fundamental obligation to care for the poor," Donovan said in a statement. "The bishop's message is a challenge to ourselves and our elected officials to never waver in our obligation to care for the most vulnerable of society."

Bettencourt could not be reached for comment.

New Hampshire GOP Chairman Jack Kimball said in a statement Friday that he has not spoken to Bettencourt yet following the Facebook posting, "but I am disappointed with his words and I don't share his sentiments."