CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) — A New Hampshire Republican leader is apologizing for calling the state’s top bishop a “pedophile pimp.” House Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt posted the comments online after Bishop John McCormack criticized his party’s budget cuts.

At first, Bettencourt stood by his words, but now there’s a different tone.

Bettencourt says someone in his position should not have used the language he did. “I maintain strong sentiments on the topic, however my words were undiplomatic, inartful and inappropriate.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.

McCormack, Cardinal Law’s top aide in the 1990s, is accused of protecting priests over victims in the sex abuse cover-up. After McCormack protested proposed Republican budget cuts, Bettencourt fired back on his Facebook page, “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.”

“Unfortunately this is what happens when someone disagrees with Republicans,” said Rep. Mike Brunelle, the NH House Democratic Floor Leader. “They’ve used harsh words with many members. That’s sort of the behavior that we’ve seen.”

While some are calling for Bettencourt’s resignation, the house speaker is supporting his deputy.

“We know there aren’t private posting on the internet and he apologized for those words,” said Rep. William O’Brien.

The Diocese released a statement saying Bettencourt’s statement is “clearly false, defamatory, and detracts from the real issue… To never waver in our obligation to care for the most vulnerable of society.”

Bettencourt has asked for a face-to-face meeting with the bishop. He’ll be meeting with him on Thursday and plans to offer his apology.

Comments (9)
  1. Lillian G. says:

    Rep. Bettencourt’s words were technically incorrect. He should have said that Bishop McCormack was a ‘pedophile enabler.’ In case one is not acquainted with the whole story (story behind the story), long onto Bishop McCormack transferred known pedophile priests from parish-to-parish, knowing full well their child abuse history. I have always wondered, ‘why?’ Then this past week he goes to a rally at the NH State House and speaks about ‘vulnerable’ citizens…Were not these children the most vulnerable citizens ever? Those that support this man please think about his past actions. THe sooner he is gone into retirement all the better for the Catholic church to start the healing process. I hold no resentment against Rep. Bettencourt, at least he stood up for what he believes.

  2. ESylvan says:

    Unfortunately, using such language lowers the speaker’s standing while raising that of the Bishop. McCormack should have been charged and convicted for what he did, along with Law. The two of them were responsible for knowingly assigning predators to parishes to prey on children. How sick can you really be?

  3. jaygee says:

    Perhaps the words could have been a bit more palatable but there is not a doubt in He…aven that McCormack’s actions in this state contributed to the sexual abuse of many children. Why he and Law were not prosecuted totally escapes me.

  4. Kevin Donovan says:

    The picture at the top is not of Bishop McCormack, though the video is correct.

  5. Linda says:

    In my opinion the catholic priests should all be defrocked. Most either smoke,drink and have sex so what are they vowing not to do.

  6. Jeanniiie says:

    If anyone didn’t know who Rep. Bettencourt is, the instults he hurled at the Bishop was a great answer with little room for error.

  7. Mike says:


  8. Eileen M. Ford says:

    If it wasn’t for McCormack, Father Joseph Birmingham, who had abused several boys in Salem, MA, would never have been transferred to Gloucester, MA where he continued to abuse children.
    Rep. Bettencourt’s words were inelegant, but they certainly were an apt description of Bishop McCormack.

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