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  Diocese Named in Suit Alleging Sexual Abuse Latest
Case Involves Former Ledyard Priest

By Kenton Robinson
The Day [New London CT]
February 1, 2003

The Norwich Diocese has been named as a codefendant in another lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of a minor by a priest.

A Bozrah man has alleged that the Rev. Raymond Jean sexually molested him in 1984 when Jean was the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Gales Ferry, Joseph Sweeney, the lawyer representing the diocese in the case, said Friday.

Michael Hayes, the plaintiff, was a teenager at the time.

Robert Reardon, the lawyer representing Hayes, was unavailable to comment Friday.

Jean, now deceased, served as pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from September 1984 to 1989, when he was removed after being arrested in a crackdown on illicit homosexual activity at Stoddard Hill State Park in Ledyard.

An earlier lawsuit, in which a Manchester man sued Jean and the diocese for sexual abuse that allegedly occurred when Jean was pastor at Notre Dame church in Durham, also named the diocese as a codefendant.

The court issued a summary judgment in 1999 finding that the diocese "had no knowledge or reason to know or suspect Jean did this kind of thing," Sweeney said.

The new lawsuit names the diocese and former Norwich Bishop Daniel Reilly as codefendants.

Three other cases are pending against the diocese: one stemming from alleged abuses by the Rev. Richard T. Buongirno and two stemming from alleged abuses by the Rev. Bruno Primavera.

Buongirno is accused of sexually abusing a child between 1987 and 1991, when he was pastor at St. Matthias Church in East Lyme.

Primavera was a visiting priest from Toronto, Canada, who served at St. Mark in Westbrook from June 1978 to September 1979. He then served for five months at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in New London before returning to Canada.

Reardon is the attorney representing the plaintiffs in all four suits pending against the diocese.

Norwich Bishop Daniel A. Hart was named Wednesday as a defendant in eight sexual abuse lawsuits filed in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston.

Hart was named in the suits not as an abuser but as a negligent supervisor of seven priests accused of sexually abusing and raping children. The suits stem from incidents alleged to have taken place during Hart's years of service in the Boston Archdiocese, between 1965 and 1982.

During much of the time the abuses are alleged to have occurred, Hart was vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Boston or regional bishop of the South Region of the archdiocese.

Hart was asked Friday to clarify exactly what his supervisory role consisted of in each of those cases. He was asked whether he supervised any of the accused priests directly and whether he ever received information or complaints about them.

Jacqueline Keller, communications director for the Norwich Diocese, said Hart would have no comment on the suits.

k.robinson@theday.com

 
 

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