Psychologist: Abusive Priest ‘A Well-Oiled Machine’

The Hartford Courant


1:53 p.m. EST, February 1, 2012
A former altar boy suing the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford for abuse by a priest presented psychological evidence in court Wednesday showing that he faces a lifetime of emotional disability because of the abuse.

Clinical psychologist David Johnson of New Haven testified that the victim, known in legal papers as Jacob Doe, suffers from chronic moderatepost-traumatic stress disorder and chronic moderate depression.

The collective effect of the two disabilities — in particular diminished powers of concentration and detachment and estrangement from others — has left Doe with a 10 percent occupational disability, Johnson said.

Doe, a consultant who investigates fires and explosions, claims in his suit that Father Ivan Ferguson sexually abused him repeatedly in the early 1980s when Doe was a student at the diocese-run St. Mary’s grammar school in Derby. In his cross-examination of Johnson, church lawyer Joseph Sitarz suggested by his questions that Doe did not try to avoid Ferguson after the first abusive encounter in a church rectory in Derby when Doe was 13.

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