|Lawsuit Alleges Abuse by Priest
Man's Accusations Date To 1977, '78
By Edmund H. Mahony
September 15, 2007
A former New Milford man claims in a lawsuit filed Friday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford that he was repeatedly abused by a Simsbury priest 30 years ago.
Niles Mallory charges that, beginning when he was 16 years old, the Rev. Ivan Ferguson assaulted him in Ferguson's bedroom in the rectory of St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church in the Tariffville section of Simsbury.
The sexual assaults took place in 1977 and 1978, according to the suit.
Before he died at age 68 in 2002, Ferguson was sued for similar behavior. A $22 million settlement between the Hartford Archdiocese and 43 victims in 2005 was designed in part to compensate an unspecified number of Ferguson's victims.
Mallory, now 46 and living in Florida, declined comment through his attorney, Thomas McNamara of New Haven.
McNamara said the suit, filed in New Haven, contends that at least one other priest failed to act after being warned that Ferguson was acting inappropriately with boys.
And, McNamara said, Ferguson told Mallory he would arrange to have the boy's mother fired from her job if the boy reported the abuse. At the time, the suit says, Mallory's mother was employed as director of religious education at the small Tariffville church. Frequently, the mother would take Mallory with her to work.
Her office was on the first floor of the rectory; Ferguson's bedroom was on the second floor. At the time, McNamara said, Mallory's mother was financially hard-pressed and had her son assist her with a newspaper delivery route to augment the family income.
According to the suit, Ferguson repeatedly warned Mallory against disclosing the abuse, saying: "If this should ever be brought out, it will be the last day that your mother will be working for the church" and "Your mother doesn't need to be distracted because she really needs this job."
At the time, the church had rules prohibiting priests from entertaining boys in bedrooms, McNamara said. He said Ferguson lured Mallory to his room on the pretext of allowing the boy to listen to recordings of popular music.
The Archdiocese of Hartford, through a spokesman, said Friday it is doing all it can to make sure that incidents of abuse are not repeated.
"This is just another reminder for all of us to be consciously aware that we must do all that we can to protect and ensure the safety of our children," the Rev. John Gatzak said Friday. "We have taken and are taking steps to ensure the safety of our children. And we are reminded to keep in our prayers all the victims of abuse."
Contact Edmund H. Mahony at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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