By ELIZABETH HAMILTON and ERIC
The Hartford Courant
March 17 2002
Secret court documents reveal that New York Cardinal Edward M. Egan,
while serving as bishop of the Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocese,
allowed several priests facing multiple accusations of sexual abuse to
continue working for years - including one who admitted biting a
teenager during oral sex.
Egan failed to investigate aggressively some abuse allegations, did not
refer complaints to criminal authorities and, during closed testimony
in 1999, suggested that a dozen people who made complaints of rape,
molestation and beatings against the same priest may have all been
lying, the documents show.
In comments that seem starkly out of synch with the current climate of
zero tolerance for sex-abuse accusations against priests, Egan said he
wasn't interested in allegations - only "realities." He added that
"very few have even come close to having anyone prove anything" against
"Allegations are allegations," he said.
In addition, former Bridgeport Bishop Walter Curtis, Egan's
predecessor, testified in 1995 that the diocese deliberately shuffled
pedophile priests among parishes to give them a "fresh start," and he
admitted destroying records of complaints against some priests, the
documents show. Curtis, who is now deceased, also said he didn't
believe pedophilia was a permanent condition.
The revelations about Egan's role in Connecticut's largest clergy
sex-abuse scandal are taken from thousands of documents in lawsuits
that Egan and the Bridgeport diocese fought, successfully, to keep
sealed from public view. While the files remain sealed following a
settlement of the suits last year, The Courant recently obtained copies
of much of them, including transcripts of pretrial testimony of Egan
and Curtis, internal diocesan memoranda and personnel files.
The documents reveal that, in addition to the eight priests who were
originally sued, at least nine others faced molestation accusations but
were never publicly identified. The documents - which do not include
details of the claims or their outcomes - name seven of the priests,
one of whom continues to serve as pastor at a Fairfield County parish.
While glimpses of the allegations against a few of the priests emerged
during eight years of legal battle, details of what the bishops and
other church officials had to say about the cases, and how they handled
them, have never been reported until now.
The Bridgeport diocese settled complaints against six priests for $12
million to $15 million last March, shortly after Egan was promoted to
cardinal in New York. Egan, who was bishop in Bridgeport from 1988 to
2000, was a defendant in some of the lawsuits and fought them
aggressively from 1993 until the settlement, which ended all of the
He inherited a budding scandal in the Bridgeport diocese that took root
during the 27-year reign of Curtis, who, in pretrial interviews with
plaintiffs' lawyers, exhibited a blunt lack of interest in dealing with
sexually abusive priests. Asked if he ever transferred a priest
"because of pedophilic conduct," Curtis replied, "yes."
"When he was assigned to a different parish, would anyone be advised of
the problem which he had previously had?" the attorney asked.
"No," Curtis said.
Under Curtis, the documents show, church officials and other priests
often ignored obvious signs of sexual involvement with children - such
as Rev. Gavin O'Connor's practice of having boys spend the weekend with
him in his bed in the rectory. Typically, when a complaint was made, it
was only considered substantiated if the priest confessed.
Curtis also testified that records of complaints against priests would
usually be put into the diocese's "secret archive," a canonically
required cache of historical documents accessed only with keys kept by
the bishop and the vicar. He said he would occasionally go into the
archive and remove what he called "antiquated" abuse complaints, and
Curtis seemed less interested in pedophilia - which he viewed as "an
occasional thing" and not a serious psychological problem - than in
weeding out potential gays among clergy applicants:
"We had a policy in this sense, that before a candidate was accepted
for study for the priesthood, [they] would have psychological testing,
and if there appeared signs of homosexuality, he wouldn't be accepted,"
By the time Egan took over in December 1988, complaints were trickling
in against several priests, made by adults who said they had been
victimized in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The documents show that he
defrocked at least one priest for sexual offenses, and put in place the
first written policy on sexual abuse complaints.
But he was slow to suspend or remove priestly powers of some others,
even those with multiple complaints against them.
Despite a May 1990 memo by a diocese official worrying about "a
developing pattern of accusations" that Rev. Charles Carr of Norwalk
had fondled young boys, Egan kept Carr working as a priest until 1995,
when he suspended him only after a lawsuit was filed. Egan's aide,
Vicar Laurence R. Bronkiewicz, wrote a sympathetic note to Carr.
"Trusting that you understand the reasons for these actions, I join
Bishop Egan in praying that the Lord will bless you with the graces you
need at this time in your life," Bronkiewicz said.
Egan actually reinstated Carr in 1999 as a part-time chaplain at a
church-run nursing home in Danbury. But after yet another accusation
against Carr surfaced earlier this year, about an incident from long
ago, newly installed Bishop William Lori finally defrocked Carr last
month and referred him to state child protection authorities.
The expressions of concern for, and willingness to believe, accused
priests stand in contrast to the absence of sympathy displayed for the
accusers. For instance, regarding a dozen people who made complaints of
sexual abuse and violence against the Rev. Raymond Pcolka of Greenwich,
Egan said, "the 12 have never been proved to be telling the truth."
Yet, nowhere in the documents is there evidence that attempts were made
to seriously investigate the truth of such allegations - accusers were
not interviewed, witnesses were not sought, and no attempt was made to
learn of other possible victims. Egan allowed Pcolka to continue
working as a priest until 1993, when he suspended him after Pcolka
refused to participate in psychiatric treatment.
Egan also doesn't believe accusers have a right to know of other,
similar accusations against the same priest: "We're dealing with them
as a specific case, and I would have no reason to go into other
people's concerns with them."
And he disagreed that a 1964 memo, instructing church officials that
"hepatitis was to be feigned" as a cover for the sudden absence of a
priest, was an attempt to hide the fact that the priest, the Rev.
Laurence Brett, had left because he admitted biting a teenager's penis
during oral sex.
"I wouldn't read it that way," Egan said of the memo, written long
before he got there. "I would read it that this man is going away, and
if anyone asks, say he's not well, he has hepatitis. That's quite a bit
different than saying you are going to hide it."
Egan added that he wouldn't have made up an excuse about a priest's
absence, preferring instead to simply tell anyone who inquired that it
was none of their business.
Egan allowed Brett to continue working as a priest outside of the
diocese until February 1993, three months after receiving additional
allegations of sexual misconduct against Brett from the 1960s. When the
allegations came in, Egan's aide, Bronkiewicz, wrote a letter alerting
the archdiocese in Baltimore, where Brett had been assigned.
"At the present time, we have no reason to believe the accuser of
Father Brett intends to take legal action of any kind, and there has
been no publicity concerning the accusation," he wrote.
There is no evidence from any of the documents that the diocese under
both Egan and Curtis alerted the police or state child protection
authorities when parents or victims came forward with accusations of
abuse. In all of the cases during Egan's tenure, the statute of
limitations to bring criminal charges had expired.
But the failure to report those cases meant that police and state child
protection authorities were never able to investigate the possibility
of other victims or possession of child pornography, a federal crime.
Under public pressure, Boston and several other dioceses recently began
turning over names of all accused priests, no matter how old the
Revelations of Egan's actions and attitudes toward sex abuse
accusations against clergy are likely to further roil the Catholic
Church, which has been rocked in recent months by news of the Boston
Archdiocese's decades-long mishandling of abuse complaints against
pedophile priest John Geoghan. In the wake of that scandal, Boston and
other dioceses - including Bridgeport, under the new bishop, Lori -
have taken steps to become more forthcoming with the public and civil
However, Egan, who as cardinal in New York is the highest profile
Catholic in the United States, has come under growing criticism for not
speaking out. On Friday, in a New York Daily News cover story headlined
"Speak Up, Egan Told," Egan's spokesman said the cardinal planned no
public statements on the issue.
Egan did not respond to requests for comments about his actions in the
Bridgeport cases, including a list of questions e-mailed to his office
at the request of his spokesman, Joseph Zwilling. In an e-mail
Saturday, Zwilling referred all questions "concerning the Diocese of
Bridgeport and/or any actions that may have occured in that diocese" to
Joseph McAleer, a spokesman for the Bridgeport Diocese, said in a
statement that "this was litigated for 8 years and was in the
newspapers practically every day," and that the diocese would have no
"The diocese of Bridgeport has always acted according to the law and
remains proactive on the prevention of sexual misconduct by its clergy
and its employees," McAleer said.
Cindy Robinson, whose law firm, Tremont & Sheldon, represented 26
people who settled lawsuits with the Bridgeport Diocese last year,
would not comment on any of the information contained in the sealed
documents, saying she is prevented by the protective order issued by
"We have always said we were confident we would prevail at trial
proving our claim that both Bishop Egan and Bishop Curtis participated
in the ongoing cover-up of these priests," said Robinson.
* * *
What follows is the first inside look, derived from the court
documents, of how Egan and other church officials handled the cases of
three priests accused of sexual abuse:
Rev. Charles Carr
Though the diocese kept giving Carr new assignments, allegations of
sexual improprieties followed him around.
The Rev. Michael Palmer, the parish priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church
in Wilton in the early 1980s, knew as early as 1982 that his assistant,
Father Charles Carr, might be attracted to children. That was when the
mother of an 11-year-old boy came to Palmer to complain about Carr.
Her son, a student at Our Lady of Fatima School, had gone with Carr and
a couple of other boys to Long Island for a school holiday trip a few
days earlier and came back drenched with sweat and shaking.
When his mother asked what was wrong, her son told her that after the
other boys had been dropped off at their houses, Carr had driven him to
the church parking lot and parked. Her son didn't like that, the mother
told her priest, because it was already dark and the church was out of
the way from their home.
Then Carr started tickling the boy, even though he was asking the
priest to stop. When Carr tried to put his hands down the boy's pants,
she said, her son pushed the priest away and called him a "pervert."
Palmer told the distraught mother he'd "look into it." When he asked
Carr about it a few days later, Carr admitted he'd been tickling the
boy and that his hand might have accidentally "slipped," but he denied
any sexual intent.
Palmer told Carr to stay away from the boy, but never reported it to
anyone else because, he testified in a 1997 deposition, he didn't
believe it was a "clear cut" sexual complaint. Attorneys questioned why
Palmer would not consider the complaint sexual in nature:
What's not clear cut?
That it's a direct intended sexual advance.
Let me ask you, as a priest, as a man, you are an athlete as
well, you said you enjoy sports, how many times have you stuck your
hand accidentally down the front of an individual, a boy or a man's
I can't remember any.
Carr left the Wilton church in 1984 for what would be a short-lived
stint on the faculty of Immaculate High School in Danbury and the
parish of St. Mary's in Bethel, where he stayed only three months.
Peter DeMarco, who was the parish priest at St. Mary's in 1984, was
asked about Carr's quick transfer during a 1999 deposition, and said he
knew only that a group of parents complained to the diocese that Carr
had inappropriately touched one of their eighth-grade sons at the
"Monsignor [Andrew] Cusack called me up after the meeting and told me
he had met with the parents," DeMarco said. "That they were not - this
is what I seem to remember. That the parents were not after any
criminal or legal repercussions - I'm not sure what the words were -
but they just wanted him to be transferred. And Monsignor Cusack said,
`He will be leaving you as soon as possible.' "
Cusack, the Episcopal Vicar of Religious and Clergy for the Bridgeport
Diocese, sent Carr for counseling with William Larkin, a Ridgefield
therapist with a degree in theology. Bishop Curtis then transferred him
to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Norwalk, where he met 13-year-old
Jon Fleetwood and his family in September 1984.
Fleetwood, who sued Carr in 1993 and has spoken publicly about the
sexual abuse he suffered, worked in the rectory answering phones and
ran into Carr often. The priest quickly became friendly with the
Fleetwood family and was a frequent dinner guest.
One evening, Carr invited Fleetwood to his room in the rectory, which
he shared with three other priests, to watch a movie. The fondling
began the same way it did with the other boy, Fleetwood testified in
"He was poking and tickling and soon it just moved down lower toward my
penis and he started playing with the inside of my thigh," he said.
"And then it turned into rubbing instead of tickling."
That first time, Fleetwood said, Carr did not unzip his pants and
fondle his penis. But he did the second time, as well as on three other
occasions, Fleetwood said.
Fleetwood eventually stopped accepting Carr's invitations, which got
him in a little bit of trouble with his parents - who thought he was
being rude to the priest - but he said he felt too ashamed and upset
about the sexual encounters to tell anyone why he didn't want to go.
Then, in July 1986, Curtis granted Carr's request to be appointed to
the faculty of the Notre Dame Catholic High School in Fairfield. When
asked during his 1996 deposition why the diocese would transfer Carr to
a boy's school when he was suspected of making sexual advances on boys,
Cusack said he was simply acting on Larkin's advice.
"Isn't that like sending Dracula to guard the blood bank?" asked
Attorney Paul Tremont, who was representing the plaintiffs suing Carr
and the diocese. "Why didn't you put him some other place?"
"That was not the advice of Dr. Larkin," Cusack responded.
The diocese did not at any time, however, request or obtain any written
report from Larkin about Carr's mental health or even his diagnosis,
which Cusack characterized as primarily a "self-esteem problem." Carr
stayed at Notre Dame High School until 1989, when Egan transferred him
to a new job - spiritual director for the boys at Central Catholic High
School in Norwalk.
Word of Carr's appointment to the Norwalk school got back to the mother
of the 11-year-old boy Carr was accused of fondling in 1982, and she
was, her son testified in 1996, "outraged."
The woman, who was getting her master's degree in theology at the time,
asked one of her professors to write to Egan on her behalf - to vouch
for her, in effect - so she could sit down with him and discuss Carr's
appointment, her son told attorneys. But Egan refused to meet with her.
Instead, the woman met with Cusack's replacement, Laurence Bronkiewicz,
on Oct. 19, 1989, and told him what Carr did to her son seven years
earlier. Bronkiewicz then called Cusack, who was now working at Seton
Hall University, and asked him whether there were any other complaints
against Carr he needed to know about.
Yes, Cusack said, one - and told him for the first time about the 1984
allegations against Carr at St. Mary's.
Egan sent Carr off to the Institute of Living, a Hartford psychiatric
hospital, in January 1990 for an evaluation, but doctors there were
unable to determine whether Carr's denial of the accusations was
truthful, documents show. So, Egan allowed Carr to return to his job at
Central Catholic High School that winter.
But a few months later, another parent came forward with a complaint
that Carr had fondled his then 11-year-old son in the early 1980s. Carr
was returned in April to the Institute of Living, where a doctor
suggested the diocese take some sort of "administrative action to
protect both Father Carr and the public" from future "lapses" by Carr.
Carr consistently denied the accusations against him, but said he
agreed to treatment because it was church policy.
Egan decided that Carr could return to work, and in June Carr was
appointed parochial vicar of Saint Philip Parish in Norwalk, with the
restriction that he not minister to children and that he continue in
One year later, in June 1991, those restrictions were lifted when Egan
appointed Carr parochial vicar of Saint Andrew Parish in Bridgeport. In
a memo written a few days before the appointment, Bronkiewicz wrote "we
are satisfied that Fr. Carr is able to be assigned to Saint Andrew
Parish without risk."
The whole thing might have ended there if the diocese hadn't tried to
collect back tuition for Immaculate High School in Danbury from one of
the families that had accused Carr of fondling their son in 1984 - even
after the father in that family lost his job.
One of the alleged victims from 1984, who by 1993 was 23 years old,
came to see Bronkiewicz to complain about the diocese's actions. In an
internal memo, Bronkiewicz quotes the young man as saying "he finds it
difficult to believe that the diocese is trying to collect this unpaid
tuition when his parents could have sued the diocese in 1984 for the
actions of Father Carr."
The first lawsuit against the diocese in connection to Carr was served
on March 30, 1995. Later that day, Egan suspended Carr and placed him
on an indefinite leave of absence.
* * *
Rev. Raymond Pcolka
Allegations of abuse against Pcolka stretched back decades and involved
more than a dozen accusers.
In 1983, an 18-year-old woman and her counselor came to Cusack, and
told him she had been molested by her parish priest, Father Pcolka, 11
Cusack, in pretrial testimony in 1995 and 1996, said the woman told him
she'd been "fondled" by Pcolka when she was a young girl attending St.
John's in Bridgeport, but that he didn't fully believe her story
because it appeared she was being "coached" by her counselor.
Attorneys for the woman, however, say Cusack had been told something
far more disturbing: On the girl's seventh birthday, Pcolka told her he
was going to give her a "birthday spanking," then he forced her to
perform oral sex on him and "beat her while she was naked."
Pcolka denied it. Cusak, who had been placed in charge of handling
misconduct complaints for the diocese, sent Pcolka to a psychiatric
hospital for an "overnight evaluation," and talked to some of Pcolka's
former supervisors and colleagues.
He did not notify the authorities. Nor did he check Pcolka's file for
past complaints or specifically ask his former supervisors whether
there had been previous sexual abuse charges.
His denials believed, Pcolka was allowed to return to his post at the
Holy Name Church in Stratford without restrictions.
In fact, this was not the first time Pcolka had been accused of
molesting a child. According to the documents, church officials had
been receiving complaints about him since his first assignment, in
1966, at St. Benedict's Parish in Stamford.
In 1976, a parishioner at the Holy Name Church in Stratford wrote to
Bishop Curtis complaining that Pcolka was involved in an inappropriate
relationship with her daughter-in-law. Curtis wrote to Pcolka's
supervisor asking for a response, but no further action was taken.
Pcolka continued on in his ministry, transferring to St. Mary's Church
in Bethel and then again, in 1989, to Sacred Heart Church in Greenwich
at the behest of newly appointed Bishop Egan. Shortly after Pcolka's
reassignment, Egan had Pcolka over to his house for a private dinner,
at which, according to Pcolka, the two discussed his transfer to
Asked by plaintiffs' lawyers if the two also talked about any sexual
abuse allegations against him, Pcolka denied that they had. On the
heels of that dinner came another complaint against Pcolka, this time
from a mother claiming her son, James Krug, was molested almost two
decades earlier. Egan sent the priest to the Institute of Living for a
"It was extensive. It was whatever was required at the Institute of
Living and it was enough for an expert of some renown to indicate to us
that there was no reason for us to hesitate to allow this person to
continue in his duty," Egan testified in 1999.
The 1983 letter written to Cusack by the young woman accusing Pcolka of
molestation was missing from Pcolka's file, Egan said, so he was
unaware of that earlier allegation when weighing what action to take
with Pcolka. He said he relied on the recommendation from a
psychologist and the advice of his vicar general, Monsignor William
"He told me that if you were to give him a list of all the priests in
the diocese, the last he would ever suspect of any misconduct of this
sort would be Father Pcolka," Egan testified, adding that he didn't
consider the complaints against Pcolka a "proved reality."
Pcolka was then allowed to resume his duties at Sacred Heart Church
without any restrictions.
In 1992, Krug himself came forward, adding weight to the claims his
mother made three years earlier. Egan granted Pcolka a leave of absence
and returned him to the Institute of Living, where he stayed for
approximately 10 days before leaving, against Egan's orders that he
stay, Egan testified.
Egan suspended Pcolka at that point, but continued to pay his salary,
provide his health benefits and cover the cost of his attorney's fees
for several years, documents show.
Egan also did not make any effort to expel Pcolka from the priesthood,
as he had done with at least one other priest accused of sexual
misconduct. When asked why he had not done this, Egan said he didn't
have sufficient evidence that Pcolka had abused anyone.
"If I had proof of his having been out of order, I certainly would
have," Egan said.
Later, when asked if he was aware that at least 12 people accused
Pcolka of sexual abuse that included oral and anal sex, beatings,
violence and sadistic language, Egan responded:
"I am not aware of any of those things. I am aware of the claims of
those things, the allegations of those things. .... I am aware that
there are a number of people who know one another, some are related to
one another, have the same lawyers and so forth, I am aware of the
Two years later, the diocese settled lawsuits against Pcolka, who
exercised his Fifth Amendment privilege more than 100 times when
questioned in 1994 about abuse allegations stretching back three
decades and involving more than a dozen victims.
* * *
Rev. Laurence Brett
Brett was sent out of state - with the admonition that, should anyone
ask, "hepatitis was to be feigned" as a cover for his absence.
In December 1964, a teenage student at Sacred Heart University in
Bridgeport came forward with an extraordinary complaint: Father
Laurence Brett, a spiritual director at the university, had performed
oral sex on the student - against his wishes - and had bitten his penis
to prevent him from ejaculating.
Brett was confronted that very day. He admitted the claim was true,
according to court documents. He said he had a "problem" and confessed
to involvement with at least one other university boy.
Church memoranda show that Bishop Curtis discussed the situation with
the Apostolic Delegate, the Vatican representative in Washington, D.C.
Curtis ended up deciding not to suspend Brett, but to send him out of
state - with the admonition to diocese officials that, should anyone
ask, "hepatitis was to be feigned" as a cover for Brett's absence.
Thus began a nearly 30-year odyssey for Brett, who bounced around the
country, working as a priest in different dioceses, all the while
remaining answerable to - and the responsibility of - the Bridgeport
His first stop after the 1964 incident was New Mexico for psychiatric
treatment. From New Mexico and elsewhere, Brett wrote letters pleading
with the bishop to allow him to return. Others asked on his behalf.
"He is not welcome," Curtis once told Monsignor Cusak.
In seeming exile, Brett was supported financially by the Bridgeport
diocese and was permitted to perform priestly functions under the
auspices of the diocese. Almost immediately, an indication came that
Brett's misconduct may have been broader than was first suspected.
While he was in New Mexico in 1966, a high school-aged boy from a
parish back in Stamford claimed that Brett had made an unwanted advance
on him. When the incident occurred, Brett was an assistant pastor at
the parish, where he also acted as a mentor and spiritual advisor to a
small group of boys who were interested in liturgical reforms in the
Catholic Church. The boy who accused him was part of this group,
informally known as "Brett's Mavericks."
In a letter that April, Curtis told the Apostolic Delegate that the boy
probably was not aware of the actual reason behind Brett's abrupt
"The departure of Father Brett was accomplished very quietly," Curtis
The boy's parents said their son was traumatized. They were seeking
financial support. The Apostolic Delegate suggested meeting with the
parents because "such an expression of pastoral concern may relieve
them while an official attitude may leave them bitter."
Curtis took the advice and arranged a meeting. He reported back that
the parents felt someone in the church had advised the boy not to
report the incident to them. In a memorandum, Curtis recounted his
portion of the discussion:
"The boy himself ... said he could not bring himself to tell [his
parents] and I tried to indicate that this might have been the reason
why the advice was given not to tell them, mainly that the boy did not
feel up to it and it was judged there was no obligation under the
circumstances to do so."
In the years that followed, Brett held a variety of ecclesiastical
positions in New Mexico, California and Maryland, to which he finally
relocated. There, he held a summer position at a parish and served as
chaplain at a school in Baltimore. He became a writer, inspirational
speaker and television minister.
Bishop Egan and Brett first met in June 1990. Around the same time, as
was his custom when he met a priest for the first time, Egan
familiarized himself with Brett's background, Egan testified later.
Egan wrote a memorandum after the meeting: "All things considered, he
made a good impression. In the course of our conversation, the
particulars of his case came out in detail and with grace."
In February 1991, Egan, after an "investigation" of the priest's
history, decided Brett could continue as a priest under the auspices of
the diocese. The following exchange comes from Egan's deposition.
I had sufficient information for myself and for others to
decide that he would continue, but I certainly wouldn't say I stopped
keeping an eye on the thing.
But you didn't do anything, you didn't - for example, you
No, I made a decision... on the basis of the information
that was given to me professionally, I allowed him to remain in the
In November 1992, an adult claimed that Brett had molested him, when he
was 10 or 12 years old, at a parish in New Mexico in 1966. Two weeks
later, Brett admitted past sexual misconduct with at least three other
high school-age boys - one in New Mexico and two in Maryland.
In late 1992 or early 1993, another one of "Brett's Mavericks" - Frank
Martinelli, then an adult living in Milwaukee - told the diocese that
Brett molested him in the 1960s, when he was between 13 and 15 years
The allegations were severe and familiar: Brett had performed fellatio
on him in a walkway behind the grade school of the church after
confession, had induced the boy to perform fellatio on him by telling
the child that the act was a way to receive Holy Communion, and he had
fondled the boy in a bathroom during a field trip with other boys to
A short time later, in February 1993, a man claimed that Brett abused
him in Sacramento in the 1960s. The new accuser said he expected
restitution and compensation.
Nine days later, Egan suspended Brett's priestly faculties.
* * *
The Situation Today
The Bridgeport diocese has set up a special committee to review all
complaints on a case-by-case basis.
Four days ago, Lori, the new bishop of Bridgeport, released a strongly
worded statement to the 370,000 Catholics in his diocese about the
recent sex abuse scandals that have rocked his church. The statement -
part apology and part manifesto -spells out the bishop's zero-tolerance
attitude toward the sexual abuse of minors.
First, Lori says, he's beefed up the 1991 diocesan policy to ensure
that any complaints, even suspicions of sexual abuse, are immediately
reported and investigated. These investigations will now be done by a
special committee, made up of psychologists and other experts, who will
review complaints on a case-by-case basis.
Second, the diocese is conducting a detailed review of all 285 active
priests and 86 deacons under its auspices and, at this point, has
determined there are none "who pose any threat of committing sexual
misconduct with a minor."
One action Lori also took, but didn't mention, was his removal last
month of the Rev. Charles Carr from his job as part-time chaplain of
the Pope John Paul II Center for Health Care in Danbury.
In the March issue of Fairfield County Catholic, Bronkiewicz notes at
the bottom of a list of staffing announcements that Carr has recently
had "his priestly faculties removed" and is "no longer available for
priestly ministry in the Diocese of Bridgeport."
How is it that Carr, who was suspended by Egan in 1995 for a string of
sexual abuse complaints with minors, was still working as a priest?
"This would have been a decision made by Bishop Egan," said Joseph
McAleer, the diocese spokesman.
Carr began his job at the nursing home in 1999, McAleer said, after it
was decided that it was safe to return him to a "limited ministry where
he would have no contact with children or adolescents." When a new
claim of sexual abuse - alleged to have occurred years ago - came in at
the beginning of this year, Lori decided enough was enough.
"The bishop was not comfortable with the past allegations," McAleer
said, adding that the new complaint was reported to the state
Department of Children and Families.
Carr still receives a stipend from the diocese, as does Raymond Pcolka,
who is living in Southbury and is also suspended from the ministry.
McAleer said the diocese is required by Canon Law to pay a modest
living allowance to priests even if they are not technically working.
As for Laurence Brett, his whereabouts remain a mystery. He receives no
stipend from the diocese.
"We hope he is found and we hope he is brought to justice," McAleer