Hartford Priest Accused of Sex Abuse in Bay State

By Marie Szaniszlo
Boston Herald
January 19, 2004

The pastor of a prominent New Haven, Conn., parish resigned Saturday in the wake of allegations that he sexually abused a child more than 20 years ago in Massachusetts.

A statement issued by the Archdiocese of Hartford said the complaint against the Rev. Andrew Brizzolara dates to when he served in the Archdiocese of Boston in the early 1980s.

The plaintiff's attorney, Roderick MacLeish, informed the Boston Archdiocese's counsel, Thomas Hannigan, of the allegation last week, said the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Hannigan then contacted Hartford church officials.

MacLeish, a member of the Boston law firm Greenberg Traurig, which has represented hundreds of alleged clergy sex abuse victims, could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday.

Coyne said he did not know details of the allegation, but said the archdiocese would adhere to its policy of investigating the complaint and notifying civil authorities.

Because Brizzolara is a member of the Missionaries of St. Charles order, however, his fate lies in the hands of the order, the Archdiocese of Hartford and law enforcement, Coyne said.

Hartford Archbishop Henry J. Mansell has already barred Brizzolara from ministering in any capacity in that archdiocese, said the Rev. John Gatzak, the archbishop's spokesman.

"He has returned to his order community," Gatzak said, "and is staying at a residence specifically for their priests."

Brizzolara has not been accused of sexual misconduct since he moved to Connecticut, Gatzak said.

Since August 1999, he has served as pastor of St. Michael's parish in New Haven, where Hartford's auxiliary bishop informed parishioners of the pastor's resignation at a Saturday evening Mass.


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