List of ac­cused priests re­leased

In­for­ma­tion pro­vided with names is min­i­mal

The Day - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE WOJTAS Day Staff Writer

Nor­wich — The Dio­cese of Nor­wich on Sun­day af­ter­noon re­leased the names of 43 priests who have served in the dio­cese since its found­ing in 1953 and have had “al­le­ga­tions of sub­stance” made against them re­gard­ing the sex­ual abuse of mi­nors.

The list does not in­clude what parishes the priests served at, what they were ac­cused of do­ing and whether the dio­cese re­ported them to po­lice or the state Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies, which clergy have been re­quired to do un­der the state's manda­tory re­porter law since 1971.

Sun­day's list also does not say which priests were in­volved in the al­most $7.7 mil­lion worth of set­tle­ments paid out to vic­tims. It also does not in­clude priests ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing adults.

The list in­cludes the priest's name, date of or­di­na­tion, if they were re­moved from min­istry, if they are de­ceased and if they are a mem­ber of the dio­cese, mem­bers of other dio­ce­ses or re­li­gious or­ders, or priests who served in the dio­cese but had al­le­ga­tions in other lo­ca­tions.

The list in­cludes a large num­ber of priests who have not been pub­licly iden­ti­fied in the past as hav­ing been ac­cused of sex­u­ally abus­ing chil­dren.

Prior to the re­lease of the list, The Day had iden­ti­fied 28 priests and brothers af­fil­i­ated with the Dio­cese of Nor­wich who have been ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing chil­dren and adults, ac­cord­ing to law­suits, depo-

sitions, sworn state­ments and state­ments from al­leged vic­tims. Six of these priests were not on the list re­leased by the dio­cese Sun­day.

Dio­cese spokesman Wayne Gignac said Sun­day the dio­cese would not be com­ment­ing on in­di­vid­ual al­le­ga­tions or set­tle­ments and did not say which al­le­ga­tions were re­ported to DCF or po­lice. In ad­di­tion, he said in­ter­views with Bishop of Nor­wich Michael Cote are not be­ing granted at this time.

“The scope of the task was to pro­vide a list of names of clergy with al­le­ga­tions of sub­stance of sex­ual abuse of mi­nors. It is our hope that the re­lease of the names will bring some mea­sure of heal­ing, and ac­knowl­edg­ment to those who have been di­rectly harmed,” he wrote in an email.

In a let­ter dis­trib­uted at churches in the dio­cese this week­end, Cote de­fined an “al­le­ga­tion of sub­stance” as one in which the priest has pleaded guilty or no con­test in crim­i­nal court to any in­ci­dent of sex­ual mis­con­duct, the al­le­ga­tion has been in­ves­ti­gated and “been de­ter­mined to be rea­son­able, plau­si­ble, prob­a­ble and bear­ing the sem­blance of the truth,” is cor­rob­o­rated with other ev­i­dence or another source and/or has been ac­knowl­edged or ad­mit­ted to by the ac­cused priest.

John Ti­mothy McGuire of New London, who has said he was mo­lested when he was an 8-year-old al­tar boy at St. Joseph’s Church in Noank by a priest on the list, the late Rev. James Curry, was crit­i­cal Sun­day of the dio­cese de­ter­min­ing which al­le­ga­tions were cred­i­ble.

“Why do they get to de­ter­mine if some­thing is cred­i­ble? They should be go­ing to po­lice or DCF,” he said.

Cote also said in the let­ter that since July 1, 1977, the dio­cese has paid out al­most $7.7 mil­lion in set­tle­ments to vic­tims in con­nec­tion with nine cases. There are 23 more cases pend­ing against the dio­cese. Other vic­tims have been un­able to file suits be­cause the statute of lim­i­ta­tions has ex­pired.

But New London at­tor­ney Kelly Rear­don, who along with her father, Robert, has rep­re­sented nu­mer­ous vic­tims of priest abuse, said Sun­day that her firm alone has rep­re­sented nine vic­tims who re­ceived $8.1 mil­lion in set­tle­ments from the dio­cese. She added that she knows other at­tor­neys have had cases against the dio­cese. Gignac said he would try to re­solve the dis­crep­ancy on Mon­day.

Rear­don called the re­lease of the list “a step in the right di­rec­tion” but said the dio­cese needs to en­sure the num­bers it is re­leas­ing are cor­rect.

She said the dio­cese should con­duct an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the is­sue

much as the Arch­dio­cese of Hart­ford and the Dio­cese of Bridgeport are do­ing.

“I think it’s nec­es­sary given the ques­tions raised by the list re­gard­ing the true ex­tent of the prob­lem,” she said.

Cote said in his let­ter that al­most $4.9 mil­lion of the set­tle­ments were paid by its in­sur­ance com­pany, $1 mil­lion came from the dioce­san gen­eral fund and al­most $1.8 mil­lion in pay­ments were made by en­ti­ties such as re­li­gious or­ders or other dio­ce­ses the priests be­longed to, as well as from the ac­cused priests them­selves.

He added that no donor-re­stricted funds, be­quests or con­tri­bu­tions des­ig­nated for a spe­cial pur­pose, such as the An­nual Catholic Ap­peal, were used to pay set­tle­ments.

McGuire said Sun­day he was glad the list was out but crit­i­cized it for lack­ing im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion.

McGuire, who has called on the dio­cese to es­tab­lish a vic­tims’ com­pen­sa­tion fund for him and oth­ers pro­hib­ited by the statute of lim­i­ta­tions from fil­ing law­suits against the dio­cese, said there is no in­for­ma­tion about where the priests served, when they were there, the num­ber of com­plaints lodged against them, what they are ac­cused of do­ing and whether the al­le­ga­tions were ever re­ported to po­lice and the state Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies.

Gail Howard, one of the lead­ers of the Con­necti­cut chap­ter of the Sur­vivors Net­work of those Abused by Priests, called the re­lease of the list “a step for­ward for the dio­cese that was a long time com­ing.”

“But we don’t un­der­stand why it took so long,” she said.

Howard said SNAP is cur­rently com­par­ing the names of ac­cused priests it knows of to the dio­cese’s list and will dis­cuss the re­sults of that re­view dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at 1 p.m. Tues­day in front of the Cathed­eral of St. Pa­trick in Nor­wich.

Howard, who en­cour­aged vic­tims to con­tact her at (203) 644-0387, said that “see­ing the name of the per­son who abused you in print re­ally has an emo­tional im­pact for vic­tims. There is also an im­pact if you don’t see the name of your abuser.”

That may be the case for some in the dio­cese, as the list omits the names of six clergy mem­bers The Day has iden­ti­fied as be­ing ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing mi­nors.

These in­clude Brother J. Paul McGlade, Brother Don­ald P. Al­ford and an un­known priest who are named in 22 re­cently filed law­suits against the dio­cese and for­mer bishop Daniel Reilly by young men who say they were they were fon­dled, sodom­ized and raped while at­tend­ing Academy at Mount Saint John in Deep River from 1986 to 1996. Gignac said McGlade and Al­ford were not in­cluded on the list be­cause they were not clergy mem­bers (priests, dea­cons or bish­ops). Also not on the list are: The Rev. Eu­gene Solega, who Ed King of Madi­son al­leged last fall sex­u­ally as­saulted him when he was a 13-yearold al­tar boy at St. John’s Church in Old Say­brook.

James Lib­erty, who in the 1980s was ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing an 18-year-old woman who had gone to him af­ter her brother died. Lib­erty worked as a mar­riage and fam­ily coun­selor with Catholic Fam­ily Ser­vices in Nor­wich. For­mer Bishop Daniel Hart apol­o­gized to the woman in a 2002 let­ter.

The late Rev. Donat Jette and Father Don­ald Pe­traitis, who were ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing an al­tar boy at at St. Mary’s Church in Put­nam in the 1960s. Pe­traitis de­nied the al­le­ga­tions. Hart also apol­o­gized for wait­ing a month to re­port the al­le­ga­tion in vi­o­la­tion of the state’s manda­tory re­port­ing law. Hart was never charged by po­lice.

Among those on the list

Reilly trans­ferred the late Thomas Shea, who was ac­cused of mo­lest­ing at least 16 girls in 11 parishes, to St. Joseph’s Church in New London in 1976, with or­ders that Shea be kept away from chil­dren in the par­ish school. Girls at St. Joseph’s said Shea liked to take pho­tos of them in their bathing suits.

The trans­fer came af­ter Shea was placed on a two-year sick leave prompted by com­plaints from par­ents in a Hig­ganum church that Shea was kiss­ing their 8- and 10-yearold daugh­ters. Two pre­vi­ous bish­ops had also trans­ferred Shea from par­ish to par­ish and had placed him on sick leave af­ter com­plaints.

In 1979, Reilly trans­ferred Shea to St. John Church in Nor­wich, where two girls, ages 11 and 13, com­plained about Shea. In 1982, Reilly sent Shea to St. John the Apostle Church and The Daugh­ters of the Holy Ghost School in Plain­field. The next year, a woman came for­ward who said that as a child Shea had made her mas­tur­bate him. Reilly re­moved Shea from min­istry in 1984 and sent him for treat­ment but never went to po­lice. Shea died in 2006.

In the mid-1990s, Reilly watched Rev. Richard Buon­girno give a $40,000 check to a young man who claimed the priest had sex­u­ally abused him in the 1970s when he was be­tween 16 and 19. The in­ci­dents oc­curred be­fore Buon­girno be­came a priest in 1984. Reilly sent Buon­girno for treat­ment at the In­sti­tute of Liv­ing, a psychiatric fa­cil­ity in Hart­ford, which the dio­cese said then cleared Buon­girno to re­turn.

Reilly as­signed Buon­girno to churches in Cromwell and Mid­dle­town, where pas­tors later said they saw Buon­girno bring boys into his pri­vate room. A few years ear­lier, a 9-year-old boy said Buon­girno re­peat­edly mo­lested him while as­signed to St. Matthias Church in East Lyme, but the dio­cese said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the state Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies failed to sub­stan­ti­ate the al­le­ga­tion.

The boy later said that Buon­girno re­peat­edly sex­u­ally as­saulted him again when he was a 16-year-old stu­dent at Xavier High School in Mid­dle­town. The dio­cese and Buon­girno each paid the vic­tim $350,000 in 2003.

The late Paul He­bert was trans­ferred by Reilly to Pom­fret from St. Michael the Archangel Church in Paw­catuck, where two men say that as boys they were sex­u­ally as­saulted by He­bert. The dio­cese later paid set­tle­ments to the two men. He­bert was re­moved from min­istry in 2004 and died 2010.

Another man, Jonathan Roy, has sued the dio­cese, al­leg­ing that as an al­tar boy in the 1990s he was sex­u­ally as­saulted hun­dreds of times by He­bert in Pom­fret. That case is pend­ing in New London Su­pe­rior Court as Kelly Rear­don, who rep­re­sents Roy, is in set­tle­ment dis­cus­sions with the dio­cese af­ter a Jan­uary trial date was post­poned.

DAY FILE PHOTO

The late Rev. Richard Buon­girno, who once served at St. Matthias Church in East Lyme.

DAY FILE PHOTO

The late Rev. Paul L. He­bert, who once served at St. Michael Church in Paw­catuck.

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