Ex-Priest May Face Further Evaluation

By Gary V. Murray
Telegram & Gazette [Massachusetts]
December 30, 2004

Worcester- A retired priest accused of sexually assaulting a child may undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial.

The Rev. John J. Szantyr, 73, of Waterbury, Conn., is awaiting trial in Central District Court on four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14. The charges date back to the mid-1980s, when Rev. Szantyr was assigned to Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish on Ward Street. The sexual assaults are alleged to have occurred on various dates from June 1, 1985, to Dec. 12, 1987. The alleged victim, a boy, is now in his late 20s.

The criminal complaints against Rev. Szantyr were issued in 2003, after the alleged victim told investigators the man he knew as "Father John" touched him in an indecent manner when he was a child attending Our Lady of Czestochowa and Rev. Szantyr was a priest assigned to the parish.

A preliminary psychological examination of Rev. Szantyr by a court-designated forensic psychologist was conducted Dec. 16 at the request of Assistant District Attorney Joseph J. Reilly III, according to court records. The case was continued to Feb. 17 for a hearing to determine whether a further evaluation is in order and, if so, whether it should be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis, sources said.

In his written motion for the preliminary evaluation conducted earlier this month, Mr. Reilly said Rev. Szantyr's lawyer, Edward P. Ryan Jr., had provided him with documentation that called into question Rev. Szantyr's competency to stand trial.


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