Priest Resigns Amid Sexual Abuse Allegations [New Haven CT]
January 18, 2004

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) The pastor of a prominent Roman Catholic city church resigned Saturday, following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor dating back more than 20 years in Massachusetts.

A statement issued by the Archdiocese of Hartford said the allegations against The Rev. Andrew Brizzolara go back to his time when he served in the Archdiocese of Boston in the early 1980s.

Brizzolara had served as pastor of St. Michael's Church on Wooster Place since August 1999. Church officials informed parishioners of the resignation at a Saturday evening Mass, and said they would continue to talk to parishioners on Sunday morning.

Hartford Archbishop Henry J. Mansell has removed all Brizzolara's ministerial faculties, said the Rev. John Gatzak, director of communications for the archdiocese.

"That means he cannot minister in any capacity in the Archdiocese of Hartford," he said. "He has returned to his order community and is staying at a residence specifically for their priests."

Gatzak said there are no allegations of sexual misconduct during Brizzolara's time in Connecticut.

Brizzolara is a member of the Missionaries of St. Charles order, which generally serves immigrant populations, Gatzak said. He is well-known in the city, and was honored by the local American Committee on Italian Migration in 2002.

Church officials provided no information about the nature of the allegations, or when they surfaced.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston did not immediately return a call Sunday morning.


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