More Mental Testing for Priest Facing Sex Charges

By Gary V. Murray
Telegram & Gazette
April 28, 2007

Worcester— A retired priest found mentally incompetent to stand trial on charges of sexually assaulting a child will undergo another psychiatric examination.

The Rev. John Szantyr, 76, of Waterbury Conn., is awaiting trial in Central District Court on charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14. The allegations date back to the mid-1980s, when Rev. Szantyr was assigned to Our Lady of Czestochowa parish on Ward Street.

The assaults are alleged to have occurred from June 1, 1985, to Dec. 12, 1987. The alleged victim is now in his 20s.

The charges were lodged in 2003, after the alleged victim told investigators he was sexually assaulted as a child by the priest he knew as "Father John."

Judge Dennis J. Brennan, since retired, found Rev. Szantyr mentally incompetent to stand trial in September. The finding was based on a psychiatric evaluation done at the request of Assistant District Attorney Joseph J. Reilly III. Rev. Szantyr is suffering from Parkinson's disease, according to his lawyer, Edward P. Ryan Jr.

Judge David Ricciardone yesterday continued Rev. Szantyr's case to Aug. 20 at the request of Mr. Reilly and Mr. Ryan, who told the judge they would arrange to have the retired priest undergo another psychiatric evaluation. Rev. Szantyr was not present in the courtroom.

Judge Ricciardone denied a request by Mary T. Jean of Worcester Voice, who advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse, to photograph the proceedings. The judge noted that the case was simply being continued at the lawyers' request.

Ms. Jean said she had expected Mr. Reilly to move for dismissal of the charges.



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