|Former Altar Boy Accuses Seymour Priest of Abuse
By Quannah Leonard
July 8, 2010
SEYMOUR -- A New Haven man has filed a lawsuit against a local Roman Catholic priest, accusing the pastor of sexually abusing him in the 1980s and bribing him with gifts to keep quiet.
William Dotson, 34, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in New Haven Superior Court against the Rev. Stephen Bzdyra of St. Augustine Church, 35 Washington Ave.
The alleged abuse occurred from around 1985 to 1990, and took place not only at St. Francis, where Dotson served as an altar boy, but also at St. Hedwig Church in Naugatuck and at a New Haven home owned by Bzdyra, said Dotson's attorney, Joel T. Faxon of New Haven.
It started one day after catechism class when Dotson was 10 years old, Faxon said.
Bzdyra took Dotson into the basement and accused him of lying in class, Faxon said in a news release. Bzdyra then pulled down Dotson's pants, whipped him with his belt and raped him.
The lawsuit states that Bzdyra repeatedly sexually molested Dotson, and forced him to perform oral sex.
It also states that Bzdyra forced Dotson into illegal drug use. Faxon said Bzdyra would take Dotson to his New Haven home, give him alcohol and rape him.
Bzdyra intimidated and threatened Dotson to keep silent about the abuse, according to the lawsuit. The priest told Dotson that he would report Dotson's mother to state welfare authorities for "having too many jobs," and that he would be taken away by the state Department of Children and Families and would never see his mother again, Faxon said.
Dotson's mother was on state assistance, Faxon said.
Bzdyra tried to buy Dotson's silence by giving him lavish gifts, including cash, a used 1999 Ford Taurus and a washer and dryer, Faxon said.
He said Dotson, a father of three young children, knew it was time to speak out because Bzdyra remains a priest at St. Augustine. He chose to not conceal his identity.
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