Competency Hearing Slated for Accused Priest

By Gary V. Murray
Telegram & Gazette
September 25, 2007

Worcester— A judge will be asked to decide whether a 76-year-old retired priest accused of sexually assaulting two altar boys more than 20 years ago is mentally competent to stand trial.

A Nov. 19 competency hearing has been scheduled in Central District Court in the case of the Rev. John Szantyr of Waterbury, Conn., who is charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14.

The sexual assaults on the two boys allegedly occurred in the 1980s, when Rev. Szantyr was assigned to Our Lady of Czestochowa parish on Ward Street. The charges were lodged against him in 2003.

Judge Dennis J. Brennan, since retired, found Rev. Szantyr mentally incompetent to stand trial in September


The judge's finding was based on a psychiatric evaluation undertaken at the request of Assistant District Attorney Joseph J. Reilly III, who is prosecuting the case.

Rev. Szantyr is suffering from Parkinson's disease, according to his lawyer, Edward P. Ryan Jr.

A second mental health evaluation of the retired Catholic priest has since been conducted at the prosecution's request, Mr. Reilly told Judge David Ricciardone today. The results of both evaluations are expected to be entered into evidence at the Nov. 19 hearing.



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