Sixth Lawsuit Filed against Former Priest

Newsday [New Haven CT]
April 24, 2004

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A sixth lawsuit has been filed against a former North Branford priest accused of sexual abuse.

The man, referred to as "James Doe" in court papers, said the Rev. Daniel McSheffery abused him between 1967 and 1970 when he was a parishioner and student at St. Augustine Church and school.

McSheffery was the school's director in the late 1960s and 70s. The claims are similar to five other pending lawsuits.

"There is overwhelming evidence that the diocese knew that many of these priests were sexually abusing boys and did nothing," said Thomas McNamara, the man's attorney.

The lawsuit claims the man needs psychological counseling, and no longer attends church. It seeks monetary and punitive damages.

McSheffery, 74, was pastor of St. Augustine Church for 16 years. He is now retired and lives in Florida.

His attorney, Hugh Keefe, said the Roman Catholic Church is being used as a "cash cow." He has opposed a financial settlement.

"Anyone who wants money can bring a lawsuit in an anonymous name and get paid," Keefe said.

Rev. John Gatzak, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Hartford, did not comment.


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