A former pastor in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, suspended following allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenaged boy in the early 1980s, has died.
The Vatican's announcement that it defrocked more than 800 priests over the last decade should be a reminder that sex abuse by those in positions of authority remains a problem. But it is not just a problem within the Church, although that institution has garnered the most public attention. The attorneys at Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney continue to be advocates for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. In 2014, Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney has:
Bishop Frank Caggiano has agreed to meet with representatives of national and local victim support groups who Wednesday called for him to hire an outside firm to investigate two priests who have been accused in the past of sex abuse -- including a prominent former Greenwich pastor who has admitted he hid more than 40 years of abuse complaints. But Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said although she is willing to meet with Caggiano, she would prefer to do so after he agrees to the investigation. "History has shown that meetings don't always bear fruit, but actions speak louder than words," Blaine said.
Two and a half years after he was removed as pastor of a New Fairfield church for allegedly sexually harassing a female church employee, Monsignor Martin Ryan was appointed pastor of a Stratford Roman Catholic church. Ryan's appointment Saturday at Our Lady of Grace Church prompted numerous calls from parishioners who said they were shocked to learn that their new spiritual leader was a priest who not only had been removed from a prior job, but had previously been accused of molesting a teenage girl in Trumbull in the 1970s. In that case, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport agreed to pay a settlement to the complainant, even though Ryan denied the allegations.
The Legionaries of Christ, a religious order plagued in the late 1990s and early 2000s by allegations of sexual abuse against its founder, announced on Thursday that an independent investigation had revealed "significant evidence" of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest who served at the order's Cheshire seminary.
An East Windsor priest accused earlier this week of sexually assaulting a minor was arrested Friday on federal firearms charges. The Rev. Paul Gotta, 55, is charged with aiding and abetting both the unlawful transport of a firearm in interstate commerce and the purchase of a handgun by a juvenile, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office stated. Gotta was placed on leave by the Catholic Church on Monday after the state Department of Children and Families received a complaint regarding the sexual abuse of a minor that involved him, said Maria Zone, spokeswoman for the Hartford archdiocese. He also was connected to the investigation of a teenager arrested in June on weapons and explosives charges, and who allegedly made a threat against a Bloomfield school. East Windsor police are investigating the sexual assault allegation against Gotta, who is administrator of St. Philip and St. Catherine churches in East Windsor, Zone said in a written statement.
Lesser known fact about Sigmund Freud - early in his career he was all but laughed out of his field for suggesting that sexual abuse within families was a significant social problem. To remain respected he recanted his findings. Toward the end of his career he went back to his original claims and backed them up, demonstrating that this ugliness was indeed not simply at the fringes of society.
They call themselves Catholic Whistleblowers, a newly formed cadre of priests and nuns who say the Roman Catholic Church is still protecting sexual predators. The Rev. James Connell, in Sheboygan, Wis., is a member of Catholic Whistleblowers.
A Catholic priest faces five years in prison after he admitted in Superior Court on Thursday that he had child pornography on his computer and chatted about sex on the Internet with underage boys. The Rev. Michael Miller, 43, of Berlin, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, obscenity and three counts of risk of injury to a minor before Judge Hillary Strackbein. He is expected to be sentenced July 9 to a prison term of 20 years, suspended after five, followed by 20 years of probation. He used church computers for some of the crimes, his lawyer, William St. John, said outside the courtroom. But St. John said his client was never accused of touching boys. "He's extremely remorseful," St. John said. "There are a lot of people who love this guy." He wouldn't let the priest talk to the media. Miller will never function as a priest again, said Maria Zone, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Hartford. He was a pastor at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Berlin, and his victims were church members, students at the church's school or both. He was suspended from public ministry as soon as police told the church about the allegations, Zone said. According to a warrant for Miller's arrest, a woman contacted police on July 2, 2011, after learning about a Facebook conversation the priest was having with her 13-year-old son. The priest commented that some professional wrestlers had "nice butts," the mother said. She looked up past Facebook chats between the two and learned that the priest had made comments about the boy being in puberty and about how the priest is "addicted to porn" and pleasures himself, the warrant states. The priest also invited the boy to come over and watch a "dirty movie" so they could "have some fun," and also wrote in "extreme detail" about sex acts he would perform on the boy, the warrant says. Miller was arrested on July 11, 2011. Police also learned about a 16-year-old victim from a social worker. After interviewing that boy, police learned that the priest had emailed to the teen -- from a church computer -- videos of an unknown person masturbating, according to prosecutor Christian Watson and court documents. Investigators later identified more teens with whom Miller had inappropriate Facebook chats during an computer analysis conducted at the New Britain Police Department. There were seven all together. They learned that Miller called another teen -- a 15-year-old, according to another warrant -- "sexy," and also told the teen that he engaged in sex acts with members of the priest's soccer team, Watson said. Miller told another juvenile that he was bisexual, the warrant states. That boy told police that the priest started out talking about online video games, school and sports, but gradually moved on to sexual topics. The computer examination also turned up five pornographic videos of children, including one with boys ages 6 to 10 performing sex acts on each other and another involving a younger girl and an adult. Miller was arrested again on June 14, 2012. In a joint statement, the archdiocese and Miller's order, the Franciscan Friars Conventual, said Miller's guilty pleas follow "many months of personal deliberation, reflection and prayer. During this time, Miller has received medical treatment and undergone therapy. "We hope that Miller's plea will give some solace and closure to the minors he violated -- and their families. We will continue to pray for them so that they will continue to heal from this regrettable experience." The Hartford Courant, Christine Dempsey