Priest Faces Felony Charges of Misconduct with Child

By Eric Rich
Hartford (CT) Courant
June 11, 1999

East Lyme, CT - A Catholic priest who has served in several Middlesex County parishes was arrested on felony charges Thursday stemming from accusations of misconduct with a child at St. Matthias Parish in East Lyme about nine years ago.

The Rev. Richard T. Buongirno surrendered at the state police barracks in Montville. He was arrested on a warrant charging him with four counts of risk of injury to a minor.

The charges stem from complaints about incidents he is accused of involvement in shortly after Buongirno, 55, arrived at St. Matthias in 1990. He is accused of continuing the activity for about a year.

Buongirno has not been active as a priest since the accusations surfaced a year ago, when he was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Church in Middletown, a spokeswoman for the Norwich Diocese said.

He petitioned the church to leave the priesthood two weeks ago. In a statement, the Most Rev. Daniel A. Hart, bishop of the diocese, said Buongirno's priestly duties have been suspended.

Buongirno, a Wallingford resident, was released on $150,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in New London June 24.

Ordained in 1984, Buongirno has also worked at St. Patrick Cathedral in Norwich, St. Joseph Parish in New London, St. Mary Parish in Portland, St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Ashford, St. John Parish in Old Saybrook and St. John Parish in Cromwell.


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