Catholic priests are religious leaders whose purpose is to provide spiritual guidance and facilitate their parishioners' relationships with God. Priests who violate boundaries, abuse their powers, and harm the very children and teens that look to the priests for religious leadership create physical and mental struggles for survivors and their families.
Even though talk of abuse within the Catholic Church has been abundant, the Church has spent years blocking legislation that would allow adult survivors to seek justice against their abusers and the Church. Over the last several years, however, some states have passed that legislation. Connecticut was one of the first.
The Connecticut General Assembly extended the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases in 2002. Child sexual abuse survivors now have 30 years after they turn age 18 or five years after reporting the sexual abuse to law enforcement to take legal action, whichever occurs first. Connecticut laws before 2002 concerning taking legal action against sexual abusers varied widely.
If you suffered sexual abuse as a child by a priest serving the Norwich Diocese, you may qualify to seek compensation for damages related to the abuse. The compassionate and experienced legal team at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA continues to dedicate its time and efforts to represent priest sexual abuse survivors in Connecticut and across the United States. Contact out Norwich Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyers today by calling 833-552-7274 for a free consultation, during which we will discuss the circumstances of your Norwich priest sexual abuse and explain how we can help you seek justice.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Seeks Justice for Priest Sexual Abuse Survivors
The experienced attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have decades of experience representing clients who have suffered injuries as a result of negligence or willful harm. The firm's commitment to client advocacy, seeking justice, and case preparation have resulted in millions of dollars in settlement money and jury verdicts for clients. We persistently pursue justice for survivors of priest sexual abuse, and we understand that these require a sensitivity beyond the realm of the average personal injury case. Your privacy and individual needs are our top priority.
Having represented priest sexual abuse survivors, our team also understands that seeking compensation from your current or former diocese may constitute an awkward pursuit for some. Our goal is to discuss your case and guide you on the path toward justice that fits your individual needs.
Coming forward with an accusation of abuse takes courage, and we are here to help you seek justice. Not only does your choice benefit you in achieving closure or working through your trauma, but you also help protect future children from falling victim to the Catholic Church.
Our empathetic legal team can inform you of your rights and lay out your legal options for holding the Norwich priest who abused you accountable for his actions.
Alleged Abusers in the Norwich Archdiocese
Survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have been sharing their stories, causing many media outlets to track the accused, create records, and let other survivors know that they are not alone. It's likely that the following list is not complete, but it provides the most recent complete list of Norwich priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children while serving the diocese.
Bernard W. Bissonnette
During his service with the Catholic Church, Bissonette allegedly molested boys from at least nine different churches throughout the United States after he left Norwich in 1963. In each new parish, he allegedly abused one or more children, until he was eventually forced out.
Richard T. Buongirno
In 1991, a parent from East Lyme reported to the Department of Children and Families that Buongirno sexually abused her son, but the priest denied the abuse, and the charges were subsequently dropped. Other survivors came forward, but the East Lyme boy eventually re-filed charges in 1999, leading to the arrest of Buongirno, who no longer works as a priest.
Santino A. Casimano
Two brothers sued Casimano in 2004, alleging that he sexually abused them in the late 1970s while in service of a parish in the Diocese of Orange, California. Casimano denied the charges, but he retired from his position as interim principal at St. Bernard High School in 2004.
Thomas J. Doyle
Doyle served the Norwich Diocese from the fall of 1976 to 1992. During the 1990s, at least four men accused Doyle of molestation from his time working in parishes in Connecticut. In 1994, brothers filed a lawsuit against Doyle for abuse that occurred at St. Bernard's Church in Rockville in the 1970s.
Paul L. Hebert
The Norwich Diocese suspended Hebert in 2004 after it received allegations that he abused a boy in the 1970s during his service as a priest at St. Michael's Church in Stonington from 1971 to 1981. Hebert resigned shortly after his suspension.
Raymond J. Jean
Jean was defrocked as a priest in 1984 while assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Gales Ferry. A 1999 lawsuit alleged that Jean sexually assaulted, abused, and exploited a child from age 9 to 13 while serving at Notre Dame in Durham. Jean died in 2001.
Donat M. Jette
In 2002, a Texas man came forward alleging that Jette molested him when he was an altar boy at St. Mary's in Putnam. Jette is now deceased.
James L. Liberty
In 2002, a Connecticut woman wrote the Norwich bishop alleging that Liberty abused her when he counseled her at Catholic Family Services in Norwich. Liberty died in 1995. This is an instance of a priest sexually abusing a woman older than 18.
Charles S. Many
In 1996, a man filed a suit alleging sexual abuse during his time as an altar boy at Sacred Heart. The accused priest, Many, voluntarily resigned in 1995 as a result of the allegations. Over the years, at least one other survivor has come forward alleging molestation by Many. He has publicly denied all allegations, but his records reveal that he confessed to the abuse during psychological evaluations.
R. Thomas McConaghy
McConaghy served as a priest in Norwich beginning in 1981. A former student accused him of molestation while he taught at a New York military academy between 1973 and 1975. McConaghy denied the allegation.
Edward P. McGrath
McGrath taught at the St. Thomas More School in Montville for 28 years before his death in 1998. In 2004, a former student told administrators that McGrath sexually abused students. The school investigated the accusation, and after five months, determined that it was credible. The Diocese argued that it was not responsible because McGrath worked for the school rather than the Norwich Diocese.
The same Texas man who accused Donat Jette of molestation came forward to reveal that Petraitis forced the accuser to engage in oral sex during his time as an altar boy in Putnam. Petraitis lives in Chicago and denies the allegations.
In 2005, Bishop Michael Cote asked Pinard to leave the Norwich Diocese because of past allegations of sexual misconduct with minors. Pinard immediately left Enders Island where he resided and taught classes at St. Edmund's Retreat.
In 2002, a man accused Primavera of sexual abuse and fondling that began in 1977 at St. Mark the Evangelist when the parishioner was 14 years old. Primavera transferred to St. Mary Star of the Sea in 1979, where he allegedly molested another altar boy. Primavera was a visiting priest from Toronto, where he eventually returned. His diocese sent him to New Mexico where he was arrested and convicted of felony sexual offenses against his students.
Thomas W. Shea
Shea died in 2006 at age 85, but at least 15 women have accused him of sexual assault and abuse during his time with the Norwich Diocese in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Some women reported that Shea would come to their houses to molest them when their parents weren't home.
Seeking Justice After Surviving Norwich Priest Sexual Abuse
If you survived sexual abuse during childhood or adolescence, you may be contemplating coming forward for several reasons. Some survivors spend years in therapy dealing with the trauma of abuse. As part of their recovery process, they feel the need to confront their abusers and/or hold them accountable for the abuse.
Other survivors have released the humiliation, self-blame, and guilt that comes with sexual abuse and feel secure in sharing their stories to seek justice. Finally, most survivors want to tell their story to prevent future altar boys and children in the Catholic Church from suffering the same abuse.
It does not matter why you want to come forward with your allegations. You have the opportunity to choose the path that best fits your individual goals and needs. The sexual abuse lawyers of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will listen to your story and the circumstances of your abuse and provide you with your options for seeking justice.
Recovering Damages in Civil Court After Norwich Priest Sexual Abuse
Depending on your individual circumstances, you may qualify to bring a lawsuit for damages from your abuse against your abuser and/or the Norwich Diocese for enabling the sexual abuse that you suffered. If you reach a settlement agreement or if a Connecticut court finds in your favor, you may receive compensation for damages related to sexual abuse committed by a Norwich priest.
Potential damages include:
Costs for visiting a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another therapist to help you deal with the mental anguish and trauma of surviving childhood sexual abuse, as well as other mental health support services and costs for medication
Compensation for physical pain and suffering as a result of sexual assault or molestation
Compensation for the mental anguish and emotional trauma associated with the abuse
Compensation for damage to personal relationships, including loss of consortium with a spouse
Punitive damages if the Diocese knew of the abuse and covered it up or failed to report it
We cannot guarantee a specific settlement amount or jury award if you choose to bring a lawsuit against the Norwich Diocese, but we will diligently pursue justice and work to maximize your ultimate compensation.
Criminal Prosecution of the Norwich Priest Who Abused You
If the priest who abused you is still alive, you can report your abuse to the police and insist that the state file criminal charges for the sexual abuse. The prosecutor will decide whether to pursue charges, but you do have a choice whether to participate in the criminal trial. For some survivors, testifying in court is a difficult but cathartic process that allows for closure and provides a sense of closure.
If the criminal proceedings and a civil trial occur at the same time, you might feel unsure about what to share. A skilled sexual abuse attorney from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can advise you on what to say during your testimony to protect your civil case. Protect your own rights while testifying against the priest who abused you in criminal or civil court.
Let Our Team Help You Seek Justice After Norwich Priest Sexual Abuse
Surviving sexual abuse has long-term effects that can impact you both emotionally and physically. If you've suffered abuse at the hands of a Norwich priest, you are not alone. Sharing your story with an attorney who will protect your privacy is the first step down the path toward justice.
Our experienced legal team has represented priest sexual abuse survivors in Connecticut and throughout the United States. We want to help you achieve closure and maximize your compensation by holding the priest who harmed you accountable, as well as the Diocese for allowing the behavior to go on without reporting in some cases.
If one of the priests listed above or another Norwich priest sexually abused you, contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today online, or call 833-552-7274 for a confidential and free case evaluation to discuss the facts of your case and learn about your options going forward.
Personal Injury Lawyer
This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.