Ex-trumbull Priest, Diocese in Abuse Suit

By John Burgeson
Connecticut Post
January 23, 2009

A Trumbull man, identified in court papers only as "David Doe," is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport and one of its defrocked priests, John Castaldo, for allegedly molesting the plaintiff a number of times in the 1980s.

Also named as defendants are the estate of the late Walter W. Curtis, bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport from September 1961 through June 1988, and Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, who was the Bridgeport bishop from November 1988 through May 2000.

The suit, filed on Friday in New Haven Superior Court, states that Doe, now 33, "suffered severe and emotional and bodily pain" when Castaldo "repeatedly forced Doe to perform oral sex." It also states that the Trumbull priest "attacked Doe for his own deviant sexual gratification."

According to the plaintiff's lawyer, Joel T. Faxon of New Haven, the molestation occurred when Castaldo was assigned to St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Church in Trumbull.

"He's unbelievable," Faxon said. "He's on the New York sexual offender registry. In this case, the Diocese of Bridgeport was warned by Castaldo's seminary that this guy was a nut job, and nonetheless, they hire him anyway."

Faxon said that his client is seeking a "substantial" settlement.

"These offenses took place in the late 1980s ---- long after the first cases like this came to light," Faxon said. "They put the fox in the henhouse."

A spokesman for the Diocese of Bridgeport had no comment on the suit, other than he hadn't seen it yet. The media spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York did not return any telephone calls for comment.

Castaldo, who was defrocked in 2001, was sued by a "John Doe" in 2004 in a similar molestation case, also at St. Theresa's. That case, involving a then-12-year-old boy, was settled in January 2005 during the jury selection process. The amount of that settlement was kept secret.

In that case, Castaldo admitted in a deposition to having a "sickness" before and during his assignment to St. Theresa's.

After his stint at St. Theresa's, Castaldo was reassigned as the spiritual adviser at Trinity Catholic High School, in Stamford, and was also a priest at the St. Maurice Catholic Church in that city's Glenbrook section.

Castaldo's 2001 removal from the church came after he was arrested and later found guilty in a sex sting operation in which he was found to have had explicit online sexual conversations with a police officer posing as a 14-year-old boy. He pleaded guilty in that case and was assigned to five years of probation and a weekend in jail.

The 30-page, 17-count indictment charges the defendants with such wrongs as infliction of emotional distress, battery and improper supervision of Castaldo.

It also states that Egan and the Bridgeport diocese "either knew or should have known" that Castaldo had "disturbing" psychological assessments, yet still was allowed to have contact with children and teenagers.

Faxon said that if the case isn't settled out of court, it will likely go to trial by 2011.


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