Documents: Priest Was Transferred after Abuse Reports

Associated Press State & Local Wire
May 11, 2002

Among documents that are the center of a court battle between the Bridgeport Diocese and newspapers are records that show a priest was transferred to new posts after officials received complaints of child molestation, the Connecticut Post reported.

The sealed documents obtained by the Post show that the Rev. Martin Federici was picked up by Westport police in 1968 for allegedly molesting a boy in his car. Police didn't arrest the priest, but reported the incident to the diocese.

Federici and five other priests are the target of lawsuits brought by 26 people who claimed they had been molested by the clergymen since the 1970s. The diocese agreed in March 2001 to settle the lawsuits for millions of dollars before they went to trial, but the documents have remained under lock and key at Superior Court in Waterbury.

The Hartford Courant and The New York Times have requested that the documents be made public, but a Friday court ruling blocked the records from being unsealed.

The records show that Federici was accused of molesting a boy after he came to St. Ambrose Church in Bridgeport in 1971. The boy's parents complained about Federici to the pastor, the Post reported.

In 1978, the documents show, Federici saw a psychologist who reported to the diocese that the priest had "poor contact with reality."

"The situation is not going to get better. He needs to be watched over and cared for like a child," the report says.

But Federici was transferred again, in 1983, to St. Joseph's Church in Shelton, where he was accused of sexually assaulting a young boy. The documents show the boy's parents reported the abuse to Monsignor Andrew Cusack.

Federici's next stops were St. Edward the Confessor Church in New Fairfield in 1984, and St. Matthew's Parish in Norwalk, where the records indicate he racked up telephone charges by calling sex hot lines.

Bridgeport Diocese spokesman Joseph McAleer declined to comment Saturday.


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