Bridgeport Diocese Settles Lawsuit by Man Who Claimed Sex Abuse by Priest

By Denise Lavoie
Associated Press State & Local Wire
May 24, 1999

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport announced Monday it has reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed he was molested 16 years ago by a Shelton priest.

Neither the diocese nor attorneys for the man would disclose terms of the settlement.

There are 22 claims by other people still pending against five priests in the diocese.

This plaintiff, known only as "John Doe," was scheduled to go to trial in Bridgeport Superior Court June 9 in a lawsuit he brought against the diocese and the Rev. Martin Federici.

The man claimed he was molested twice by Federici in 1983 while the priest served as pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Shelton. The man, now in his early 30s, was 15 at the time.

The settlement has been paid by Catholic Mutual Relief Society, an insurance carrier for the diocese.

Tom Drohan, a spokesman for the diocese, said the settlement is not an acknowledgment of Federici's guilt or any knowledge of his alleged actions by the diocese.

"We think in this case it was absolutely the right thing to do - fair to all parties," Drohan said.

"At the same time, with other cases pending, we are prepared to defend the diocese's position and to go to trial, if that becomes appropriate."

Cindy Robinson, an attorney for the plaintiff, said one of the alleged molestations took place while Rev. Federici was hearing confession and the other in the rectory bedroom.

"We are very pleased that our fight for accountability has resulted in the resolution of this matter, and we hope that the settlement will give the plaintiff some sense of closure," she said.

Robinson's firm is representing 20 other people who claim to have been sexually abused by priests in the Bridgeport diocese.

Drohan said Federici's right to operate as a priest was suspended in 1996, after the lawsuit was filed.


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