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  3 Victims Claim Sex Abuse by Priest, 63
More Come Forward to Accuse Monsignor

By Daniel Tepfer
Connecticut Post
April 23, 2002

Bridgeport - A day after the Bridgeport Diocese admitted that Monsignor Charles W. Stubbs was suspended in 1997 for molesting a boy in the 1980s, three other men told the Connecticut Post they - and two others - also were sexually assaulted by Stubbs.

The three said they had reported it to the diocese. Diocesan officials Monday admitted knowing of two of the complaints.

At a press conference Sunday, Bishop William E. Lori announced he had suspended three priests who admitted sexual abuse. Lori also revealed that Stubbs and the Rev. Joseph Moore had previously been suspended for sexual abuse. The men technically are still priests but no longer have the authority to minister.

Lori told the press conference that in September 1997, while Cardinal Edward Egan was bishop of Bridgeport, diocesan officials received a complaint that Stubbs, 63, molested a boy at St. Mary's Church in Ridgefield. The diocese said it was the only complaint raised against Stubbs.

After investigating, Egan suspended Stubbs, but parishioners were not told what happened to him. When the Post asked about Stubbs at the time, a diocesan spokesman said he was convalescing from a knee injury.

Stubbs' assignments in the diocese appear to fit a pattern of how the diocese handled priests accused of abusing children by moving them from parish to parish.

Ordained in 1963, Stubbs was first assigned to St. Edward's Church in New Fairfield. From 1963 to 1964, he was at St. Mary's Church in Stamford; from 1964 to 1967, he worked at Assumption Parish in Westport; from 1967 to 1969, he was assigned to St. Ann's Church in Bridgeport; from 1969 to 1976, St. Catherine of Siena in Greenwich; from 1976 to 1991, St. Mary's Church in Ridgefield; and from 1991 to 1996, St. Mary's Church in Greenwich.

Stubbs, who had been named a monsignor by 1996, was accused of "financial impropriety" while at St. Mary's in Greenwich. Sources said Stubbs stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the church. He was forced to retire as pastor of St. Mary's.

In July 1997, however, Stubbs was brought out of retirement by Egan and appointed assistant pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown.

The revelation by Lori that Stubbs had molested a boy in Ridgefield in the 1980s was very distressing to John Papp.

"The fact that there were other victims after me has been very upsetting," he said.

Papp, 51, who now lives in Massachusetts, said he was assaulted by Stubbs while attending a retreat at Stonehill College in Brockton, Mass., in August 1968.

Papp said he was 17 then and had recently graduated from Notre Dame High School in Fairfield, which at the time had an all-male student body. He said one night in a dormitory room Stubbs opened a portable bar he often carried and offered Papp alcohol.

After a few drinks, Papp said he became sleepy. He said Stubbs then sexually assaulted him. "I tried to resist him, but he kept at me," Papp recalled.

Papp said the next day, he reported the incident to two other priests on the Notre Dame faculty.

A 47-year-old city man, who did not want his name revealed, testified in a 1999 deposition before diocesan lawyer Joseph Sweeney that Stubbs had sexually assaulted him during the 1970-71 school year while he was 15 and a student at Notre Dame.

He said he and two friends attended a retreat with Stubbs at the former Christ the King Seminary in Trumbull. Instead of driving the teens home, he took them to his residence at the former Holy Ghost Fathers Residence in Norwalk.

There, the man recalled, Stubbs gave the three boys wine until they became sleepy and then led each to a bedroom. The man said Stubbs then went from bedroom to bedroom, sexually assaulting the teens.

"The next morning I told the boy in the room next to mine that he wouldn't believe the crazy dream I had last night and he said, 'He got you, too,' " the man said. "We found the third boy in his room naked and the priest's collar was on the bedpost."

He said the three of them got dressed and hitchhiked back to Bridgeport.

A 51-year-old Redding man, who asked that his name not be used, wrote a letter to Monsignor Laurence Bronkiewicz, diocese chancellor, on April 10.

In the letter, he recounts a sordid story of abuse at the hands of Stubbs when he was 15 or 16 and an altar boy at St. Ann's Church.

"For a couple of months he'd bring me along to movies, pizza and CYO [Catholic Youth Organization] functions, often with some girls from Notre Dame," he recalled. "One evening he took me alone to his parents home in the Brooklawn area. There, Father Stubbs gave me Scotch until I passed out."

When he awoke, he said, Stubbs was sexually assaulting him.

The man said after that, whenever he saw Stubbs walking along the street he would jump into the bushes to hide from him. Now married, he is raising his two children as Protestants.

Diocese spokesman Joseph McAleer said Bronkiewicz had received the Redding man's letter and was trying to arrange a meeting with him.

He said the Bridgeport man's statement during the February 1999 deposition was the first time the diocese had heard of his complaint. Since Stubbs had already been suspended for another abuse, he no longer posed a danger to anyone, he said.

McAleer said they had no record that Papp had complained of abuse and had no comment on it.

Contact: dtepfer@ctpost.com

 
 

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