Priest's Victim Finally Receives Longed-For Sorry
By Daniel Tepfer
April 22, 2002
BRIDGEPORT - For more than 30 years Peggy Fry has waited for a public apology from the Bridgeport diocese for the abuse she suffered at the hands of Monsignor Gregory Smith.
She finally got it Sunday but only after sneaking into Bishop William E. Lori's press conference.
Barred from the conference, he managed to get into the Catholic Center where she ran into the bishop. Instead of showing her the door, Lori escorted the Monroe woman and her husband into the room crowded with media.
A short time later Fry's eyes were welling with tears as Lori, looking directly at her, read a letter from Smith whom Lori had suspended.
"I truly wish to apologize to those I harmed early in my ministry and I ask their forgiveness, the bishop read.
It wasn't exactly the scream it from the top of the rooftops apology that Fry had hoped for, but nonetheless it was a public apology.
"I've waited 34 years for that apology, I didn't expect it would come here, but I'll take it, Fry said later.
Molested as a teen-ager in the late 1960s by Smith while at St. Teresa's Church in Trumbull, Fry has had to endure a lot to get to this point.
Her claims against Smith fell on deaf ears in the diocese while Smith was moved from church to church. Then her lawsuit against the diocese was dismissed because it was filed beyond the statute of limitations.
Lori, who finally agreed to meet with her and last month, told her that Smith had admitted abusing her and another teen-age girl. But he didn't respond at that time to her demands that Smith be removed from the priesthood and give her a public apology.
So yes, she got an apology Sunday.
"It doesn't make everything I have gone through go away, but it was an apology, she said.
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