Priest Still on Duty Despite Settlement
By Daniel Tepfer
November 1, 2005
In its state record-breaking $22 million settlement to 43 victims of abuse by 14 priests, the Archdiocese of Hartford included payment to two men who claimed they were abused by the Rev. William Przybylo.
But archdiocese officials Monday said they are not relieving Przybylo of his duties and in fact, are dubious of the allegations against the priest.
"These two men are very credible and were found to be credible by U.S. Magistrate Judge William Garfinkel," said their lawyer, Cindy Robinson, of the Bridgeport law firm Tremont and Sheldon.
Archdiocese spokesman Rev. John Gatzak said Przybylo, who is currently at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Hartford, has been allowed to remain active because the archdiocese and its Sexual Misconduct Review Board could not substantiate allegations against him.
Robinson said her two clients claim in 1976, when they were 11 and 12, they were abused by Przybylo at Holy Cross Church and school in New Britain. Przybylo was principal of the school and in charge of the altar boys.
"I am totally innocent of the misconduct that has been alleged against me," Przybylo said in a statement released by his church.
Gatzak said Archbishop Henry J. Mansell met with Przybylo and officials interviewed the two claimants. "There was no independent corroborating evidence to support their claims," he said.
In addition to Przybylo, the priests named in the settlement are the Revs. Joseph Buckley, Stephen Crowley, Ivan Ferguson, Stephen Foley, Thomas Glynn, John Graham, Felix Maguire,
Daniel McSheffery, Edward Muha, Louis Paturzo, Raymond Paul, Edward Reardon and Kenneth Shiner.
Of the priests named in the settlement — and with the exception of Przybylo — Gatzak said six are dead, four are retired and three are no longer in active ministry as a result of complaints of sexual abuse.
Gatzak said the archbishop was in contact with the seven other priests but has not met with them about the allegations.
He said the settlement will be funded through a combination of insurance and savings.
The 43 plaintiffs claimed they had been abused during the late 1960s, the 1970s and into the first half of the 1980s.
Kevin P. Zile, who claimed he was molested repeatedly by Glynn, said it wasn't money that made him decide to sue the archdiocese.
"If in 1983 or 1985 they had the courage to do something about it that would have been an example for the whole country, it would never have come to this," he said.
The Hartford archdiocese includes Milford and much of the lower Naugatuck Valley.
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