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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CNS) -- Bishop Thomas L. Dupre, 83, former bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts, died Dec. 30, the diocese announced.
In a Jan. 2 statement, the diocese said it had been informed of the bishop's death, explaining he "had passed away outside the diocese and funeral arrangements have been scheduled to be private."
Bishop Dupre suddenly resigned as head of the western Massachusetts diocese Feb. 10, 2004, saying it was for health reasons. About seven months after his resignation, Bishop Dupre was indicted on charges that he sexually assault two altar boys more than three decades earlier.
No criminal proceedings were undertaken because of the statute of limitations, but he was sued civilly. In 2012, Bishop Dupre agreed to a civil settlement in a trial that featured emotional testimony by an abuse victim, his family and two priests.
Born Nov. 10, 1933 in South Hadley, Massachusetts, Bishop Dupre was ordained to the priesthood in Springfield in 1959. He became auxiliary bishop of the diocese in 1990. St. John Paul II subsequently appointed him the ordinary of the diocese five years later. He served as a parish pastor and canon lawyer prior to being named bishop.
As head of the diocese, he continued the efforts begun by his predecessor, Bishop John A. Marshall, to strengthen protocols to remove priests with credible allegations of child sexual abuse from active ministry. The Diocese of Springfield said that in one of his final acts before his resignation, he announced that the Vatican had agreed to the diocese's request to laicize Richard Lavigne, who as a priest had been convicted of child abuse.
During his ministry, he also was known for his advocacy and work toward improving Catholic-Lutheran dialogue.