Connecticut Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer

September 13, 2019 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Religious leaders, including clergy in the Catholic Church, exist as spiritual leaders who mediate the relationship between their parishioners and God. When these leaders cross boundaries, violate trust, and abuse the children who look to them for moral and spiritual guidance, it creates lifelong issues for victims and their families. The Catholic Church has spent years successfully blocking state legislation allowing adults to bring lawsuits against the Church for the abuse they suffered as children. In recent years, some states have paved the way to open that door. In 2002, the Connecticut General Assembly extended the statute of limitations to bring a personal injury lawsuit against someone who committed sexual abuse against a child, including clergy. For all abuse occurring after 2002, child sexual abuse victims have 30 years from the time they turn 18 or five years beyond reporting the abuse to law enforcement, whichever is earlier. For abuse that occurred before 2002, Connecticut laws vary greatly. If you have been abused by a clergy member in one of the dioceses or archdioceses of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, you might be eligible to seek compensation for damages. Our empathetic and skilled attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are committed to advocating for anyone who was victimized by a clergy member of the Catholic Church. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and learn how we might be able to help you in the wake of abuse.

Alleged Abusers in the Hartford Archdiocese

Since victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have been stepping forward, a wide variety of media outlets have been keeping track of those who were accused to create a record and also help other victims know they are not alone. It's likely the following list is not complete, but it identifies 50 priests and other church officials who were accused of abusing children in the Hartford Archdiocese, some of whom have been convicted, sued, or both.
  • Gregory M. Altermatt was removed from ministry in February of 2012. In a civil suit, a victim claimed Altermatt abused him from age seven to 15 at the rectory of St. Anne's in Waterbury, a movie theater in Waterbury, the car of the accused, the victim's home in Bristol, and a Florida condominium.
  • Joseph B. Buckley allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy in 1971 after giving the boy a rum-spiked drink and coaxing him into the shower, which happened on more than one occasion. Buckley died in 1975 after retiring in 1970.
  • Stephen H. Bzdyra was laicized in May of 2018 after three lawsuits alleging abuse while he was assigned to St. Francis in New Haven. The lawsuit states Bzdrya threatened the victim and his family, whom he later tried to silence with expensive gifts.
  • Herbert Clarkin died in 2010 after retiring and being removed from ministry in 2002.
  • Stephen Crowley retired in 1991 and was removed from ministry in 2002. Accusations against Crowley were part of a $22 million settlement with the Hartford Archdiocese in 2005.
  • Linda Cusano, a nun in the Hartford Archdiocese, allegedly assaulted a female high school senior numerous times in 1991 and 1992. Her parents complained about the relationship at the time, but the Church initially brushed them off.
  • Robert Walter Doyle abused a boy age 10 to 15 from 1971 through 1975, while Doyle was assigned to Sacred Heart in Wethersfield. Doyle died in December 1975.
  • Ivan Ferguson was originally ordained in Peru, and came to Hartford in 1979. He was removed from ministry in 1993 after three men accused him of abuse in the 1970s. Multiple other accusers from the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Diocese of Norwich came forward after his death in 2002.
  • Stephen C. Foley has been named in more than a dozen civil suits for luring teenagers into relationships while he served as fire and police chaplain in the 1960s and 1970s. He wasn't laicized until 2016.
  • Thomas Glynn was accused in five different civil lawsuits of perpetrating abuse on children during the 1970s. He retired in 1987 and died at age 80 in early 1993.
  • Paul Gotta was sentenced to nine months of prison time for distributing explosives to a minor, but was also the subject of sex abuse and sexual assault complaints while he was Administrator of St. Phillip's in East Windsor and St. Catherine's in Broad Brook. He allegedly forced a boy to take off his clothes and assaulted him before giving him his paycheck.
  • John Graham died in 1983, but his name was included in the October 2005 $22 million settlement between the Hartford Archdiocese and 43 victims, along with 13 other priests.
  • Robert J. Grant was arrested in 2007 for sexually assaulting a teenage boy while he was assigned to Saint Hedwig. He denied all charges and allegations during the trial and was found not guilty in January of 2009.
  • Philip Hussey was accused of sexual abuse after his death in 1978; the Archdiocese named him publicly in January 2019.
  • Edward Hyland was removed from ministry in 2002, laicized in 2016, and ultimately named publicly as a clergy member accused of abuse by the Archdiocese in January 2019.
  • William Izquierdo had a complaint of abuse filed against him in 2012 and another under investigation. He was the novice director at the Legion of Christ novitiate in Cheshire, CT between 1982 and 1994.
  • Roman Kramek was a visiting priest from Poland who was arrested for sexually abusing a teenage girl who came to him for counseling. He entered into a plea agreement in which he agreed to serve 9 months of prison time and 10 years probation. Kramek returned to Poland after his release from prison in 2005.
  • Joseph Lacy was accused of abuse after his death in 1990. The Archdiocese included him in the list of publicly accused in early 2019.
  • Robert G. Ladamus allegedly sexually abused two boys while assigned to St. Mary's in Milford, CT. He retired in 1998 and died in 2012 before being publicly accused by the Archdiocese in 2019.
  • Felix H. Macguire died in 2008 and has been listed by Hartford and Norwich amongst the clergy accused of sexual abuse. He retired in 1993, but was the subject of multiple accusations starting in 1984. In addition to being accused in a large 2005 lawsuit against the entire Hartford Archdiocese, Macguire was also part of a 1995 lawsuit in which the jury awarded the plaintiff more than $260,000.
  • Terry Manspeaker pled guilty to sexual assault of a 17-year-old and advances on a 14-year-old, receiving five years probation in 1994. He was removed from the ministry in 1992.
  • Richard P. McGann allegedly abused a boy during the 1970s for a few years beginning when the victim was age 12. In addition to inclusion on the Archdiocese's list in 2019, McGann was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican in 2016.
  • Daniel C. McSheffery has been named in at least six civil lawsuits including the abuse of at least eight boys at St. Augustine in Hartford in the 1960s and 1970s, and the abuse of an altar boy at St. George's in Guilford for five years beginning when the victim was age nine. McSheffery died in 2014.
  • Michael Miller was accused by at least nine minors of abuse during his time at St. Francis High in Buffalo, NY and as a parochial vicar at St. Paul in Kensington, CT, where he was removed by the order for inappropriate contact with a minor. Miller was the subject of many criminal charges over the years and ultimately pled guilty to improper Facebook and text messages, as well as possession of child porn, for which he was sentenced to a five-year prison term and 20 years of probation.
  • Peter G. Mitchell was named in a civil lawsuit after he allegedly sexually abused a boy in his car and home on Colony Road in New Haven. Mitchell is named on both the Hartford and Norwich lists of publicly accused clergy, and died in 2016.
  • Edward M. Moran was accused by a female parishioner of sexually abusing her in 1980 when she was a young child. The Archdiocese investigated the incident in 1996 when the woman reported the abuse, but found no basis for her allegation.
  • Edward J. Muhan was accused posthumously of abusing a young boy in 1970 during his time at Immaculate Conception in Terryville. This claim was included in the large suit against the Hartford Archdiocese, which settled for $22 million in 2005.
  • Jeremiah Murasso was accused of sexually abusing a minor during his time at St. Francis Children's Home in New Haven. The Archdiocese completed an investigation in 2015 and found no basis, so they cleared his return to ministry.
  • Howard Nash was accused of abuse in 2003 after his death in 2001. The Hartford Archdiocese publicly named him in January 2019.
  • John T. O'Connor was accused of abuse after his death in December of 2003, and the Archdiocese publicly named him in January 2019.
  • Louis S. Paturzo allegedly fondled at least two teenage boys in the 1970s, while Paturzo was still in seminary. Police investigated the incidents in 1993, after one of the parents filed a report, but found no evidence. Paturzo was sent for a psychological evaluation and treatment before he was reassigned. He was laicized after another victim sued him in 2008.
  • Raymond Paul allegedly molested a teenage boy for three weeks while he was hospitalized for burns suffered in a house fire. At least three other men filed civil suits with similar charges against Paul during his time as a hospital chaplain. Paul died in 2008.
  • Robert P. Pelkington surrendered to law enforcement after being accused of sexually abusing two brothers in 1998 and 1999. He received three years of a suspended sentence and 10 years of probation. Pelkington was laicized in 2011 and died in 2015.
  • John Pryor was a visiting priest at St. Bernard in Tariffville, who was accused of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese.
  • William P. Przybylo allegedly sexually abused two altar boys in the 1970s according to a 2003 civil suit. He settled the lawsuit, but continued to assert his innocence.
  • George Raffaeta was removed from the ministry in 2002 after allegations of abuse. He died in 2010, and Hartford publicly named him in January 2019.
  • Edward J. Reardon allegedly abused a teenage boy in the early 1970s. These claims were included in the large settlement with Hartford in October 2005. Reardon is on both the Hartford Archdiocese list and the Norwich Diocese list.
  • Adolph Renkiewicz was named publicly by the Archdiocese in 2019 after his death in August of 2015.
  • Jose Rivera was accused of abuse during his time as chaplain at St. Raphael Hospital in New Haven.
  • Joseph T. Rozint allegedly sexually abused a teenage boy in 1977 during his time at St. Gertrude's in Windsor, according to a 2011 lawsuit. Rozint abandoned the ministry in 1993 before the Archdiocese received any claims against him.
  • John W. Rudy was arrested on more than one occasion for improperly touching a 19-year-old and a 7-year-old. He pled no contest to lesser charges, keeping him out of jail and off of the sex offender registry.
  • Thomas Sawyer was investigated for child pornography after another clergy member at St. John Vianney in West Hartford reported seeing naked children on Sawyer's computer. The investigation revealed thousands of downloaded pictures of naked pre-teen males, ultimately resulting in an arrest.
  • Robert E. Shea was accused of abuse after his death in 1995. The Archdiocese of Hartford publicly named him in January 2019.
  • Kenneth H. Shiner began abusing a teenage boy in 1980. He allegedly took the boy to dinner and then molested him at the rectory. Shiner was laicized in 2016.
  • Michael Benedict Taylor was accused multiple times of molesting boys in Trinidad when he was a former monk and teacher at a girls' Catholic school in Connecticut.
  • Edward Tissera aka Warnakulasuriya who was laicized in 2018 after being accused of molesting a teenage boy during confession at St. Bernard's in Simsbury. Tissera, who went by many names, also repeatedly assaulted a teenage boy in the rectory bedroom at St. John the Evangelist in Watertown.
  • Enrique Vasquez fled to Connecticut from Costa Rica after he was charged with abuse and convicted in absentia. He was arrested in Honduras in 2007 under a warrant from Interpol.
  • Walter A. Vichas died in 2008, but was accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy at Blessed Sacrament in Waterbury in 1979 and 1980.
  • Felix Werpechowski died in 1972 but has been publicly named by the Hartford Archdiocese and Norwich Diocese.
  • Peter J. Zizka was laicized in 2002 and has been named in five lawsuits for abusing young girls. Each of the suits was settled out of court.

Contact Us Today for the Legal Help You Need

If you or a loved one has suffered harm at the hands of one of these, or another clergy member in Connecticut, contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Accident Injury Lawyers today at 833-552-7274 for a private consultation to discuss the details of your case.


Matthew Dolman

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 successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic 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.

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