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.