September 29, 2016
September 29, 2016, WORCESTER, MA – Bishop Robert McManus, Bishop of Worcester, has announced that Judith Audette, L.I.C.S.W., has officially assumed the responsibilities of Victim Assistance Coordinator (VAC) for the Diocese of Worcester. The previous VAC, Frances Nugent, died in July 2016. Ms. Audette has been assisting in the duties since that time.
Commenting on the announcement, Bishop McManus added, “I am grateful for the compassionate expertise that Mrs. Audette brings in helping those who come to us, often decades later, to share the pain of abuse they suffered as children by members of the Church. Her vast experience on the issue, like Mrs. Nugent, will help us to continue to offer healing to victims who come forward seeking healing and hope.”
Mrs. Audette commented, “I am humbled and honored to carry on Mrs. Nugent’s work with the victims of sexual assault by members of the Church. Mrs. Nugent worked with dedication and a profound sense of empathy which I aspire to continue so that every person who seeks assistance is provided the help they need.”
Mrs. Audette has served as the Chairperson of the Diocesan Review Committee (DRC) for the past seven years and has assisted victims through the Office for Healing and Prevention over the years. She is also the Executive Director of Pathways of Central Massachusetts and has extensive experience working with both victims and perpetrators of abuse, including for probation or parole.
Bishop McManus also announced that Mrs. Claire Freda is now the chairperson of the Diocesan Review Committee (DRC). Mrs. Freda has served for many years on the DRC and has been its Vice Chairperson. She is a longtime Leominster City Councilor and past president, past Leominster School Committee Member and is very active in community affairs and organizations, including past president of Catholic Charities of Worcester County.