Bishop Michael R. Cote (2003-present)
Bishop Daniel A. Hart (1995-2003)
Bishop Daniel P. Reilly (1975-1994)

Norwich CT

Michael R. Cote
became bishop of Norwich in May 2003, following an eight-year stint as auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Portland, Maine. So far, his public handling of priests accused of molesting minors suggests a great concern with protecting the dignity of the accused. Accordingly, victim advocates say, Cote may be creating an environment in which victims do not feel safe coming forward.

In Maine, Cote lived at a rectory with a priest who participated in a gay Web site that contained sexual references to children. When lay activists exposed the priest’s involvement in the Web site, Cote and Bishop Gerry of Portland refused to say what they had done to discipline the priest, who remained in active parish ministry. See Norwich Bishop Called Lenient in Maine Case, by Tom Breen (March 3, 2005).

More recently, when alleged victims came forward in March 2005 claiming abuse in the 1970s by Rev. Thomas McConaghy of Sacred Heart church in Norwich, Cote removed McConaghy but praised him warmly in a public statement. See Norwich Priest Resigns after Being Accused of Assaulting Child 30 Years Ago: The Rev. McConaghy Denies the Accusation, by Ethan Rouen (March 8, 2005). A victims’ group issued a statement observing that Bishop Cote’s stance could discourage the surfacing of any possible victims of McConaghy in the Norwich diocese.

In 2003, near the end of his tenure as bishop of Norwich, Daniel A. Hart was named in eight lawsuits in Boston as a “negligent supervisor of sexually abusive priests.” See Bishop Hart Named in New Lawsuits: Norwich Prelate Seen As Negligent Supervisor in Sex Abuse Legal Claims, by Kenton Robinson (January 30, 2003) In his nine years in Norwich, Hart purportedly continued the diocese’s 1991 “zero tolerance” policy, but he refused to open diocesan files, name the accused priests, or even to name the number of allegations the diocese had reported to civil authorities. See Norwich Bishop Questioned, by Katie Melone (May 9, 2002).

Daniel P. Reilly, bishop of Norwich from 1975 to 1994, also failed to prevent molestation of children by priests under his supervision. As chancellor of the diocese of Providence and as bishop in Norwich and then Worcester, Reilly was named in more than 30 lawsuits charging him with negligent supervision of sexually abusive priests. See Reilly Being Sued in Three Dioceses, by Richard Nangle and Kathleen A. Shaw (March 17, 2002) and their detailed follow-up What Did the Bishop Know, and When? (September 1, 2002).

Below we list accused priests who have worked in the diocese of Norwich, with information about the accusations and links to sources.

This list is our initial collection of information on accused priests who have worked in the Norwich diocese. We will be completing the assignment records and adding to the supporting documentation. See also our News and Views on the Norwich diocesan sexual abuse crisis, a comprehensive collection of links to reports and commentary. Last updated 5/21/05.


Bissonnette, Bernard W. - St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield
- Christ the King Seminary, St. Bonaventure, NY
- Ordained 1958 at the age of 26
- Christ the King in Old Lyme (1958-59)
- St. Michael's in Pawcatuck (only three months – left following allegations)
- All Hallows in the Moosup section of Plainfield (left following allegations)
- St. Mary's in Putnam (1962-63)
- Servants of the Paraclete facility in Jemez Springs NM
- Nine parishes in NM, MI and MN (1963-93)
In 1963, Bishop Hines sent Bissonnette to the Servants of the Paraclete in New Mexico after the father of 13-year-old Thomas Deary III told the church that Bissonnette had molested his son at St. Mary’s Church in Putnam. In the next 30 years, the priest worked at nine parishes in New Mexico, Michigan, and Minnesota. “At each of the parishes, he left or was forced out after he was accused of sexually abusing one or more children. In 1977, following a four-year leave of absence, Bissonnette took a job at a boys’ school in Springer, New Mexico but was later removed for reportedly sodomizing several students there.”
- Ad "Do You Remember Fr. Bissonette?" that two of the Deary brothers ran in early 1993 in the Norwich Bulletin and the New London Day.
- Church Can Be Sued in New Mexico for Priest's Alleged Sexual Abuse, by Barry Massey (December 29, 1998)
- Court: Priest's Alleged Victim Can Sue Connecticut Diocese, by Nancy Plevin (February 18, 1999)
- Diocese Quietly Facing Cases of Priestly Abuse, by Brian Scheid (February 24, 2002)
* Bill Would Stop Time as Shield for Accused Priests, by Brian Scheid (March 10, 2002)
* Bishop Named in More than 30 Lawsuits, by Associated Press (March 17, 2002)
* Reilly Being Sued in Three Dioceses, by Richard Nangle and Kathleen A. Shaw (March 17, 2002)
- Abuse Victim's Brother to Meet Bishop, by Brian Scheid (March 19, 2002)
- A Sudden Spotlight on the Church, by Brian J. Scheid (March 24, 2002), from which quotation above is taken.
* [Article about the Deary Brothers and Bissonnette], by Brian Scheid (April 7, 2002)
- Victim's Brothers Want Bishop Hart to Resign, by Brian Scheid (April 16, 2002)
- Church Can't Be Sued in New Mexico for Priest's Alleged Sexual Abuse, by Barry Massey (May 24, 2002)
* What Did the Bishop Know, And When? by Kathleen A. Shaw and Richard Nangle (September 1, 2002)
- Man Sues Diocese, Alleges Sex Abuse: Putnam Church Also Named in Accusation against Former Priest, in The Day [New London CT] (October 10, 2002)
* Molest Lawsuit Filed against Norwich Diocese, by Associated Press (October 10, 2002)

Buongirno, Richard T. - St. Thomas More High School in Colchester (Lay teacher during 1970s)
- Ordained May 1984 in Norwich diocese
- St. Joseph’s in New London (1984)
- St. Mary’s in Portland (1986)
- St. Philip the Apostle in Ashford (1988)
- St. Matthias in East Lyme (1990)
- St. John’s in Old Saybrook (1993-94)
- Treated at Institute of Living in Hartford (4/94-8/94)
- St. John’s in Cromwell, Parochial Vicar (Sept. 1994)
- St. Francis of Assisi in Middletown (1995-99)
- Arrested June 1999
- No longer working as priest

In 1991, a mother told the Department of Children and Families that Buongirno had sexually abused her nine-year-old son in 1990 at St. Matthias Church in East Lyme. The charges were dropped when the boy denied the abuse. In 1994, a man came forward to the diocese claiming that Buongirno had molested him in his teen years during the 1970s, at St. Thomas More High School in Colchester, where Buongirno taught before he entered the seminary. When Buongirno admitted that the charges were true, Bishop Reilly sent him to the Institute of Living for five months. In June 1999, following stints in two more Norwich parishes, the priest was arrested after the claimant from East Lyme, now a young man, re-filed the1990 charges.
- Priest Faces Felony Charges of Misconduct with Child, by Eric Rich (June 11, 1999)
* Bill Would Stop Time as Shield for Accused Priests, by Brian Scheid (March 10, 2002)
- Bishop, Diocese Seek Exclusion from Sexual Abuse Lawsuit, by Associated Press (March 12, 2002)
- Norwich Diocese Seeks Dismissal from Sex-Abuse Lawsuit: Priest Accused of Abuse Was Not within 'Scope of His Employment,' Says Lawyer for Church Officials, in The Day [New London CT] (March 12, 2002)
- Priest Served after Abuse Alleged, by Brian Sheid (March 13, 2002)
* Bishop Named in More than 30 Lawsuits, by Associated Press (March 17, 2002)
* Reilly Being Sued in Three Dioceses, by Richard Nangle and Kathleen A. Shaw (March 17, 2002)
- Diocese Accused of Perpetuating Sex Abuse: Bishop, Norwich Diocese Should Have Done More to Curb Priest, Victim Says, in The Day [New London CT] (April 3, 2002)
- Church Defending Itself against Complaints, While Decrying Sex Abuse by Priests, by Associated Press (April 7, 2002)
- Bishop Hart Is Cleared in Abuse Lawsuit | Judge: No Evidence to Show He Knew of Priest's Sexual Assaults, in The Day [New London CT] (August 1, 2002)
- Plaintiff's Attorney in Sex-Abuse Case 'Pleased' with Judge's Ruling: Norwich Diocese Will Remain a Defendant in Lawsuit, Court Says, in The Day [New London CT] (August 2, 2002)
* Jury to Hear Case of Priest Abuse in Conn. Diocese, by Richard Nangle (August 2, 2002)
* What Did the Bishop Know, And When? by Kathleen A. Shaw and Richard Nangle (September 1, 2002)
- Norwich Diocese, Former Priest Agree to Settle Sex-Abuse Lawsuit: Plaintiffs Complaint Resolved for $700,000, by Kenton Robinson (March 4, 2003)

Casimano, Santino A.

- St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo CA
- Ordained in Gallup, NM (1975)
- St. Paul’s in Crownpoint NM, on Navajo Reservation (1975)
- St. Barbara's in Santa Ana, CA (1978)
- St. Anthony Claret in Anaheim CA (1979-80)
- Navy chaplain. Worked in California, Newport RI, Japan, and New London CT (1981-2000)
- Incardinated in Norwich CT, officially transferred from Gallup, NM (August 8, 2000)
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Waterford CT – weekend assistant
- Appointed chaplain and head of theology department, St. Bernard High School, Uncasville, CT (8/2000)
- Interim principal, St. Bernard High School, Uncasville CT (7/03)
- Resigned as principal (1/8/04)

Casimano denies charges in a 2004 lawsuit that he sexually abused two brothers in a parish in the diocese of Orange CA in the late 1970s.
- Priest, Educator, Retired Navy Chaplain to Lead SBHS, from the St. Bernard High School Alumni Page (June 4, 2003)
- Religious Studies Chairman Named St. Bernard Principal: Montville, in The Day [New London CT] (June 7, 2003)
- St. Bernard High Principal Accused of Sexual Abuse: Casimano Resigns After Two Brothers Make Allegations, by Allison Frank and Bethe Dufresne (January 21, 2004)
- Ex-St. Bernard Principal Denies Charges: Brothers' Sex-Abuse Accusations Date to 70s, by Megan Bard (January 22, 2004)
- Ex-Area Priest Named in Suit, by Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola (January 24, 2004)
- Priest Personnel Files Hold Special Meaning to Alleged Victims, by Gillian Flaccus (April 16, 2005)

Doyle, Thomas J.

Member of the Marianist Society

- St. Bernard's in Rockville (10/76- 8/78)
- St. Joseph's in New London (9/78-9/79)
- St. Mary's in Clinton (9/79-9/81)
- Sacred Heart in Vernon (9/81-9/92)

During the 1990s, at least four men came forward with allegations that they were molested as minors by Doyle when he was working in CT parishes. In 1994, twins Matthew and Mark Nutt filed a lawsuit against Doyle and the Norwich diocese, saying that Doyle began sexually abusing them at the St. Bernard’s Church in Rockville in the 1970s, when the boys were 14.
- Brothers Accuse Ex-Pastor of Abuse, by Gerald Renner and Christine Dempsey ( May 14, 1994)
- 250 at Church for Talks: Congregation Seeks Healing after Allegations, by Gary Gentile (May 18, 1994)
- Additional Complaints against Priest Reported, by Gary Gentile (May 19, 1994)
- Our Towns: Vernon | A Chance for Healing, Editorial in the Hartford (CT) Courant (May 27, 1994)
- Judge Removes Church, Diocese from Abuse Suit, by Gary Gentile (August 3, 1995)
- Church, Diocese Dropped from Abuse Lawsuit, by Gary Gentile (October 31, 1995)
- Ruling on the Marianist Society's Motion for Summary Judgment, in Nutt v. The Norwich Roman Catholic Diocese, U.S. District Court, Docket No. 3:97CV00776, (March 16, 1999)
* Bill Would Stop Time as Shield for Accused Priests, by Brian Scheid (March 10, 2002)
Hebert, Paul L. - Ordained 1959
- St. Patrick Cathedral in Norwich
- St. John's in Old Saybrook
- St. John the Evangelist in Montville
- St. Mary of the Visitation in Clinton
- St. Michael's in Stonington (1971-81)
- Most Holy Trinity in Pomfret (1981-2004)
- Accused Pastor Resigns, by Brian Lyman (July 3, 2004)
- Priest Put on Leave after Sex Allegations, by Associated Press (July 10, 2004)
Jean, Raymond J. Ordained 1957
- St. Mary's in Putnam
- St. John's in Montville
- Notre Dame in Durham (1970s and early 1980s)
- Our Lady of Lourdes in Gales Ferry
“In May, 1999 a lawsuit was filed in Middletown against the Rev. Raymond Jean, who was last assigned in 1984 to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Gales Ferry, the year he was defrocked. The suit says that Mr. Jean, who died [in 2001], committed numerous acts of sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation on a child from the ages of 9 to 13, beginning in 1973 while he served at the Notre Dame Church in Durham.”
* Memorandum of Decision on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, in Doe v. Norwich Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp., Middlesex J.D., at Middletown, Docket No. CV93-69529 (June 27, 1996)
* Man Sues Priest for Alleged Sexual Abuse, by Associated Press (February 23, 1999)
* Bill Would Stop Time as Shield for Accused Priests, by Brian Scheid (March 10, 2002)
- A Sudden Spotlight on the Church, by Brian J. Scheid (March 24, 2002).
Jette, Msgr. Donat M. - Ordained in 1918
- St. Mary's in Putnam (early 1960s)
- Dean of Northern Windham County (early 1960s)
- Hart Apologizes for Not Reporting Sex-Abuse Charge, in The Day [New London CT] (May 8, 2002)
Liberty, James L., O.M.I. - Ordained in 1957
- Catholic Family Services in Norwich (marriage and family counselor, 1980s)
* Bishop Apologizes to Woman for Priest's Abuse, by Katie Melone (May 10, 2002)
Many, Charles S., S.S.E. - St. Basil's College in Toronto (1966-74)
- St. Mary's-St. Jude's in Montreal (1974-78)
- Sacred Heart in Groton CT (1978-81)
- St. Lawrence in Essex VT (1981-86)
- Edmundite Generalate in Burlington VT
- Trial and Error in One Man's Abuse Case, in The Day [New London CT] (May 14, 2002)
Marcantonio, Robert   * Bishop Named in More than 30 Lawsuits, by Associated Press (March 17, 2002)
* Reilly Being Sued in Three Dioceses, by Richard Nangle and Kathleen A. Shaw (March 17, 2002)
- Bishop Reilly Named in More Than 30 Sexual-Misconduct Lawsuits: Former Norwich Church Official Should Have Taken Stronger Action against Offending Priests, Documents Contend, in The Day [New London CT] (March 18, 2002)
* What Did the Bishop Know, And When? by Kathleen A. Shaw and Richard Nangle (September 1, 2002)

McConaghy, R. Thomas

- LaSalle Military Academy in Oakdale NY in the Rockville Centre diocese (the school was run by the Christian Brothers; McConnaghy was reportedly "commandant" of the school in the mid 1970s)
- Ordained 1981.
- St. Andrew's in Colchester CT (1981-83)
- St. Patrick's Cathedral in Norwich CT (1983-85)
- St. Colman's in Middlefield (1985-90) as administrator and assistant; in late 1988 or early 1989 McConnaghy became sole priest at the parish; in late 1989 or 1990 Sr. Guytina Campisi, M.P.F., became director of religious education
- St. Michael in Pawcatuck CT (pastor 1990-99) with Sr. Guytina Campisi as school principal (1993-96)
- Sacred Heart in Norwich CT (pastor 1999-2005)
- St. John Mission Church in Fitchville CT (pastor 1998-2005)
"McConaghy is accused of molesting a student at the LaSalle Military Academy in Oakdale, N.Y., on Long Island between 1973 and 1975. McConaghy was the academy's commandant at the time, before he became a priest in Norwich in 1981." He denies the allegation.
- Sex Abuse Claims against Former LI Priest (March 8, 2005)
- Bishop Removes Norwich Pastor, by Brian Wallheimer (March 8, 2005)
- Norwich Priest Resigns after Being Accused of Assaulting Child 30 Years Ago: The Rev. McConaghy Denies the Accusation, by Ethan Rouen (March 8, 2005)
- Clergy Sex Abuse Group Seeks Help from Bishop, by Landa Mauriello-Vernon and David Clohessy of SNAP (March 10, 2005)
- Sins of the Past, by Tom Kasprzak (March 19, 2005)
McGrath, Edward P.   - Group Calls for More Information on Accused Former Priest: Deceased Ex-Teacher at St. Thomas Moore Target of Abuse Claim, by Kenton Robinson (August 7, 2004)

McManus, Francis J., S.J.

- Ordained in 1973
- Boston College High School in Boston MA
- St. Bernard High School in Montville CT (1982-83)
- Sts. Peter and Paul in Norwich CT (pastor 1983-91)
- St. James in New Bedford (chaplain 1991-)
- Accused Priest Came to Norwich with His Bosses' Recommendation, by Kenton Robinson (January 16, 2003)
Petraitis, Donald, M.I.C.   - Hart Apologizes for Not Reporting Sex-Abuse Charge, in The Day [New London CT] (May 8, 2002)
Pinard, Paul   - Diocese Asks for Removal of Priest at Enders Island: Bishop Cites Accusations of Sexual Misconduct, by Kenton Robinson (February 18, 2005)
- Diocese Meets Child-Protection Rules: The Audit Comes Just Weeks after Bishop Michael Cote Expelled a Priest Following Allegations of Sexual Misconduct 14 Years Ago, by Kenton Robinson (February 19, 2005)
Primavera, Bruno - St. Mark the Evangelist in Westbrook CT
- St. Mary Star of the Sea in New London

In 2002, a man filed a lawsuit charging that beginning in 1977, when he was a 14-year-old parishioner at St. Mark the Evangelist in Westbrook, Primavera had repeatedly abused him “by ‘kissing him on the lips’ and ‘touching and fondling’ his genitalia, among other sexual actions. The assaults often occurred at the church, the suit claims.” In 1979, Primavera was transferred to St. Mary Star of the Sea in New London, where he allegedly molested another 14-year-old altar boy. Primavera was returned to his Toronto diocese and eventually sent to New Mexico, where he taught at a military high school. In the early 90s, he was arrested and convicted of felony sexual offenses involving his students there.
- Former Priest Accused of Abuse, by Eric Rich (August 10, 2002)
* Former Altar Boy Comes Forward with Allegations against Priest, by Associated Press (August 21, 2002)
* What Did the Bishop Know, And When? by Kathleen A. Shaw and Richard Nangle (September 1, 2002)

Shea, Thomas W.

- Ordained 1946
- Chaplain at a Catholic girls summer camp in New Hartford (2 months in 1946)
- St. Mary's in Simsbury, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Washington Depot, and Holy Angels in South Meriden (1946-49)
- St. Bernard's in Rockville (1950-53)
- St. John the Evangelist in Montville (1953)
- St. Mary Star of the Sea in New London (1954-57)
- St. Patrick's in Mystic (1958-62)
- St. Stephen's in the Quinebaug section of Putnam (1963-68)
- Our Lady of Lourdes in Gales Ferry (1969-72)
- Mary Mother of the Redeemer in Groton and St. Peter's in Higganum
- On Sick Leave (1973-75)
- St. Joseph's and Sisters of Mercy School in New London (1976-78)
- St. John's in Norwich, while absent on leave and on duty outside the diocese
- St. John the Apostle and the Daughters of the Holy Ghost School in Plainfield (1982-83)
- St. Luke's Institute in Maryland and then the Servants of the Paraclete facility in New Mexico
- Retired in Brimfield (1985-97)
- St. Mary Home in West Hartford (1998-2004)
- Her Story Is Told at Last: Woman's Alleged Abuse at Hands of Priest Kept Secret for 35 Years, by Kenton Robinson (February 12, 2004)
- Beyond the Boundaries: Retired Priest Leaves a Trail of Wounds and Grief across Region, by Kenton Robinson (March 14, 2004)
- Stalked and Haunted by a Priest, by Kenton Robinson (March 14, 2004)

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