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SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUITS

CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC CHURCH SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUITS

Representing Survivors of Child & Adult Clergy Abuse

If you or someone you love were sexually abused by a member of the Catholic clergy in Connecticut, you may be entitled to compensation.

In recent years, various record releases and court filings have produced evidence of a rampant sexual abuse problem within all three of Connecticut’s Roman Catholic dioceses. In addition to revealing that more than 130 priests have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse in parishes across the state, the records also show that church officials engaged in a decades-long coverup that enabled predator priests to abuse children without consequence.

Now, survivors are stepping forward in increasing numbers to seek justice and hold the Church accountable. Our award-winning attorneys at Levy Konigsberg are here to help.

Levy Konigsberg is a nationally recognized trial practice with a legacy of litigating civil sexual abuse lawsuits against powerful institutions and religious organizations. If you have questions about a potential case, call or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation with a Connecticut Catholic church sex abuse attorney.

Internal Records Reveal Long List of Accused Clergy in Connecticut

Like other Roman Catholic dioceses that have been forced to respond to high-profile scandals, the three dioceses of Connecticut have taken steps to publicize the names of priests, deacons, and other church members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

These publications include the names of 134 priests and clergy members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. The allegations date back decades to the 1950s and include claims of abuse that took place at parishes and other locations across the state. For example:

  • The Archdiocese of Hartford’s public list includes the names of 44 priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse from 1953 to the present. The Hartford Diocese has also publicly identified 9 priests from other dioceses who have been credibly accused of abusing minors in the Hartford Archdiocese, and 3 Hartford Archdiocese clergy accused of abusing minors outside of the Archdiocese.
  • The Diocese of Bridgeport’s public list includes the names of 44 priests and clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. This includes 15 priests who are currently living, 22 priests who are deceased, four clergy members from other religious orders who served in the Diocese, and one visiting priest from outside the Diocese.
  • The Diocese of Norwich’s public list includes a total of 50 credibly accused priests and clergy, including 24 priests from the Norwich Diocese accused of abuse within the Diocese, two visiting priests, six priests belonging to religious orders who served in the Norwich Diocese, and 18 clergy members who served in the Norwich Diocese but were accused in other places.

Notably, these lists have their limitations. They do not include the names of priests who have faced allegations that don’t meet the Church’s own standards for “credibility,” nor do they name priests whose investigations were “impeded by judicial procedures.” As such, they leave out many priests and clerics who have been accused of abusing minors in Connecticut parishes over the years.

But while these lists may leave out many names, they still show that the Church has struggled for decades to control a rampant sexual abuse problem.

Legal Filings Detail Dark History of Sexual Abuse in Connecticut Catholic Churches

In addition to lists of credibly accused priests released by the Dioceses, various legal filings and high-profile settlements amounting to millions of dollars have revealed alarming claims about the scope of child sexual abuse within Connecticut Catholic Churches and how Church officials failed for decades to report abusive priests and protect victims. Some examples include:

  • In February 2023, the Archdiocese of Hartford reached a settlement with a woman who was repeatedly sexually abused by Father Toribio Villacastin at St. Isaac Jogues Parish in East Hartford from 1969 to 1970 when she was 8 to 9 years old. Villacastin, who died in 2008, was listed on the Archdiocese’s credibly accused list in 2022. He was also assigned to St. John of Arc Church in Naugatuck from 1972 to 1973.
  • In January 2023, the Diocese of Norwich agreed to set aside $29 million in a trust to compensate survivors who were sexually abused by priests and other church employees. The trust was created after the Diocese filed for bankruptcy in June 2021 after it was hit with dozens of claims from survivors who were sexually abused at Mount Saint John, a former boy’s residential school in Deep River that closed in 2013. More than 140 additional claims were lodged against the Diocese after its bankruptcy filing.
  • In May 2021, the Hartford Archdiocese reached a settlement with a man who was repeatedly sexually abused by former priest Kenneth Bonadies while he was a student as East Catholic High School in Manchester from 1981 to 1985. The Archdiocese claimed that it had not received any claims against Bonadies, who was ordained in 1965, prior to his retirement in 2004.
  • In March 2019, the Diocese of Bridgeport agreed to pay $3.55 million to five men who were sexually abused in the 1980s to early 2000s by three priests: Rev. Walter Coleman of Bridgeport, Rev. Robert Morrissey of Brookfield, and Rev. Larry Jensen of Ridgefield.
  • In January 2019, the Hartford Archdiocese revealed that it had paid nearly $51 million to settle sexual abuse claims against priests. The settlements came in cases involving child sexual abuse dating back to 1953 and priests such as Felix Maguire, who ministered in West Haven, Robert Ladamus of Milford, who died in 2012, and Howard J. Nash, who died in 2001.
  • In November 2005, the Hartford Archdiocese agreed to pay $22 million to 43 people who were sexually abused by priests and clergy members dating back to the 1960s. Among the 14 priests accused in the claims were Rev. Thomas Glynn, Rev. William Przybylo of SS Cyril and Methodius in Hartford, Rev. Daniel McSheffery, and Revs. Joseph Buckley, Stephen Crowley, Ivan Ferguson, Stephen Foley, John Graham, Felix Maguire, Edward Muha, Louis Paturzo, Raymond Paul, Edward Reardon, and Kenneth Shiner.
  • In October 2003, the Diocese of Bridgeport agreed to pay $21 million to 40 survivors who were sexually abused by 16 priests. At the time, the settlement brought the total of payouts made by the Diocese for 89 separate claims involving 22 priests to $37.7 million.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Connecticut?

Connecticut has revised several elements of its civil statute of limitations – or the deadline by which Plaintiffs must file suit to be eligible for a recovery of damages – for claims involving sexual abuse.

The statute of limitations for bringing a sexual abuse lawsuit in Connecticut will depend on various factors, including the age of the victim and even the criminal guilt of the alleged abuser.

  • Claims involving convicted abusers. Thanks to an amendment made effective in 2022, Connecticut has no statute of limitations for civil actions brought against alleged abusers who have been convicted of 1st degree sexual assault or 1st degree aggravated sexual assault. (Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 926 § 52-577e).
  • Abuse claims involving victims under 21. In Connecticut, victims who were sexually abused under 21 years of age can file civil claims within 30 years (or until the age of 51) to file civil lawsuits from the date they turn 21, if the abuse occurred on or after October 1, 2019. For claims based on child sexual abuse that occurred before October 1, 2019, survivors have until the age of 48 to file suit. (Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 926 § 52-577d).
  • Abuse claims involving adult victims. Connecticut does not have a specific statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits filed by victims who were abused or assaulted as adults. Instead, adult survivors are subject to the statute of limitations applicable to torts like personal injury. In Connecticut, this is generally three years from the date of the alleged abuse (Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 926 § 52-577).

Determining the statute of limitations that applies to your case can be challenging. If you have questions about your ability to file a lawsuit, Levy Konigsberg can help during a free and confidential consultation.

Do I Have a Case?

You may have grounds to file a civil legal action if:

  • You were sexually abused by a priest, church volunteer, or other clergy member.
  • The abuse occurred anywhere in Connecticut.

At Levy Konigsberg, we support survivors in civil actions that aim to hold the Catholic Church accountable for its failures to stop abusive priests and protect victims. These civil claims are separate from any criminal proceedings and focus on holding the Church liable for damages. This means that you may still have a claim even if:

  • Your abuser is no longer alive.
  • Your abuser was never charged or convicted of a crime.

Recoverable Damages in Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Claims

In addition to accountability and providing the sense of justice survivors deserve, civil sex abuse lawsuits allow survivors to recover financial compensation for their damages, which may include:

  • Past medical and mental health expenses
  • Future mental health expenses, including therapy, medications, etc.
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish and psychological harm
  • Lost income
  • Other economic and non-economic damages

Call For a FREE Consultation:

Levy Konigsberg has recovered more than $3 billion in compensation for clients, including millions in compensation for survivors of sexual abuse. We’re passionate about helping survivors seek justice and provide the firepower they need to fight back against powerful institutions like the Catholic Church.

If you have questions about pursuing a sexual abuse lawsuit against a Connecticut Catholic diocese over abuse that occurred when you were a minor or an adult, we want to help. Call or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

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