Catholic church agrees to settlement in alleged East Hartford child sexual abuse, attorney says

CT Insider [Norwalk CT]

February 11, 2023

By Peter Yankowski

An attorney representing a woman who alleges she was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest in East Hartford said they reached a settlement with the church. 

The woman’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said the claim was outside of the statute of limitations and was settled “in the low six figures.” The settlement was finalized in January, he said.

Garabedian said his client, who is now an adult, was repeatedly sexually abused by Toribio Villacastin, a priest assigned to St. Isaac Jogues Parish in East Hartford from 1969 to 1970. The abuse occurred when the woman was 8 to 9 years old, Garabedian said, and occurred in the sacristy of St. Isaac Jogues Church, as well as other locations. 

David Elliot, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Hartford, said the archdiocese does not comment on specific settlements. He noted that Villacastin was not a priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford, “nor was he ever granted the faculties required for priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford.”

Villacastin died in 2008 and was a priest of the Diocese of Tagblaran in the Philippines, Elliot said.

“As a result of my client’s courage, it is believed Fr. Villacastin was publicly listed in 2022 on the website of the Archdiocese of Hartford as a credibly accused sexually abusive priest,” Garabedian said in a statement.

“By coming forward and reporting the clergy sexual abuse my courageous client is trying to heal, help other sexual abuse victims try to heal and make the world a safer place for children,” he added. 

Villacastin was also assigned to the St. John of Arc Church in Naugatuck from around 1972 to 1973, Garabedian said.

Peter Yankowski is a breaking news reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media Group. He was previously a reporter for the Danbury News-Times and the Ridgefield Press.