Chesterfield Man Files Sexual Assault Suit against Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese
By Fred Contrada
July 11, 2013
|St. Patrick's Church in Chicopee (Republican file photo)|
A Chesterfield man has filed a suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell and a former pastor, charging them with negligence for allowing a priest at the former St. Patrick's Parish in Chicopee to sexually assault him over a period of four years.
The plaintiff, referred to in the complaint only as "John Doe," maintains he was 13 years old when Paul Archambault, a priest in the Springfield diocese assigned to St. Patrick's, began sexually assaulting him. The more than 50 assaults took place at multiple locations, the suit says, including St. Patrick's Parish, Our Lady of Ephesus House of Prayer in Vermont and the Northampton home of the priest's father.
Also named as a defendant is "Father R," the pastor at St. Patrick's who was known to the congregation as "Father Rick," the suit states. The most recent pastor at St. Patrick's church was Rev. Richard Turner.
The plaintiff contends that the diocese, the bishop and "Father Rick" knew or should have known about the assaults and were negligent in failing to stop them.
The suit, which was filed Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court by attorney John J. Stobierski of Greenfield, seeks a jury trial on all counts.
Mark Dupont, a spokesman for the Diocese of Springfield, said Thursday that the Diocese has no record of a priest named Jerry Archambault working at St. Patrick’s or any other parish in the Diocese. The Diocese and its Review Board had no prior information regarding the complaint and were unable to comment on it, he added. They are currently reviewing the matter.
“The Diocese of Springfield remains committed to the safety of our young people,” Dupont said in the statement. “We regularly conduct trainings and CORI background checks on all clergy, religious and lay who work in the diocese, whether or not they have regular contact with younger persons. Furthermore we have extensive abuse awareness training offered in our schools and religious education to educate our young people.”