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  Priest Named in Second Assault Suit; 10 Accuse Him of Abuse

By Gerald Renner
Hartford Courant
January 9, 1993

A Greenwich priest was named Friday in a second lawsuit charging him with sexual assault, and lawyers involved in the case say 10 people have accused the priest of abusing them when they were children.

The suit, filed in Bridgeport Superior Court, charges that the Rev. Raymond Pcolka, 53, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Greenwich, assaulted James Krug, 28, of Norwalk, when Krug was 8.

Krug's lawyer, Henry Lyons III of Fairfield, said he will also file suit next week on behalf of a 33-year-old Massachusetts woman who says Pcolka assaulted her when she was a girl. Another lawyer, T. Paul Tremont, who filed a similar suit Monday on behalf of two clients, said he had been retained by six others who say that Pcolka sexually assaulted them as children.

"There are other persons we have spoken to on the telephone who are coming in next week, including a couple from out of state," said Tremont.

The Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport has suspended Pcolka pending an investigation. A church spokesman said Pcolka denies the charges and is undergoing psychiatric evaluation at an unnamed medical institution.

The allegations are that the priest "raped the girls and sodomized the boys," Tremont said. He said the five men he represents had all been altar boys.

Since Tremont filed a lawsuit on Monday on behalf of Sharon See and Brian Freibott, both now 28, two women and four men making similar accusations against the priest have retained him to represent them, Tremont said.

The six people charge the incidents occurred in three parishes over a period of 10 years, Tremont said, the most recent when Pcolka was associate pastor at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Stratford between 1975 and 1986.

The diocese said in a statement Thursday that the allegations made by See and Freibott against Pcolka "shock us and describe him as a much different person than the kind and devoted priest whom diocesan officials had always understood him to be."

It said that the diocese, headed by Bishop Edward M. Egan, "feels a deep sense of compassion for anyone who may have been harmed by any activities of Father Pcolka whether alleged in that complaint or otherwise."

It said, "While recognizing that Father Pcolka deserves to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, the diocese is proceeding independently to investigate those allegations and any others there may be."

The diocese said one prior complaint had been made against Pcolka, in 1989. Krug's mother complained to a diocesan official that Pcolka had abused her son years before "but denied the diocese any opportunity to interview the alleged victim."

It said Pcolka was confronted with the charges but denied them. He underwent "a thorough psychiatric assessment in a nationally recognized institution," the diocese said, but was told "there was no basis for believing there to be any disorder in Father Pcolka's behavior."

Because the report indicated that the allegations were false, Pcolka was reassigned to parish duty, the Rev. Christopher Walsh, a diocesan spokesman, said.

Tremont took issue with the diocese's denial of prior complaints against the priest.

"One of my clients in 1983 went with her mental health counselor to the diocese, the office of the chancery, and reported what this priest had done to her when she was a child," Tremont said, but no action was taken against him.

Ordained in 1965, Pcolka served churches in Stamford, Bridgeport, Greenwich and St. James in Stratford before his assignment to Holy Name, a Slovak ethnic church. He became pastor of St. Mary Church in Bethel in 1986.

 
 

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