Naugatuck Priest Arrested Again

Waterbury Republican-American
September 22, 2007

Naugatuck — A borough priest accused last month of sexually assaulting a teenage boy was arrested at St. Mary's Church on Saturday after he attempted to have contact with his alleged victim.

The Rev. Robert J. Grant, was outside of his car near the North Main Street church when he tried to call the boy, who was also near the church, over to where he was standing, said Lt. Robert Harrison, Naugatuck Police spokesman.

Grant, a Roman Catholic priest who formerly served St. Mary's and St. Hedwig's churches, was charged with breach of peace and was released on $200,000 bond Saturday night. He is scheduled to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on Oct. 3.

Harrison said the teen Grant attempted to approach Saturday was the 16-year-old boy who has accused Grant of giving him wine and money in 2006 in exchange for oral sex and back massages.

Grant was arrested by Naugatuck Police on Aug. 2 and charged with second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury/impairing the morals of children.

Grant, 63, was told not to have contact with his accuser. He was placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Hartford and was told not to conduct himself as a priest or live at the church rectory. Police did not have Grant's current address Saturday.

Grant's attorney, William St. John of Waterbury, could not be reached for comment.

In August 2006, Grant began asking his alleged victim, who was then 15, to perform oral sex on him and then gave the boy money and wine, the victim claimed in an arrest warrant affidavit. The relationship continued until February or March 2007, according to the affidavit.

Police don't believe other victims are involved in the case. A pretrial hearing for Grant's original case is set for Wednesday in Waterbury Superior Court.

Grant has pleaded innocent to the charges and St. Mary's parishioners have defended him.

In August, St. Mary's parishioner Bob Bickley wrote a commentary for the Republican-American, saying he believed Grant is innocent. He compared Grant's circumstances to Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible," based on the Salem witch trials of 1692.

"Anyone familiar with Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' will remember how a few teenagers turned a small, religious town into a place of mass hysteria and caused the death of innocent people, all because they did not want to shoulder any responsibility for their actions," Bickley wrote.


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