Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse

By Bob Connors
NBC Connecticut
July 7, 2010

A Connecticut man filed a lawsuit Wednesday, claiming he was sexually abused by a priest while he was an alter boy in the 1980s.

William Dotson, 34, filed the suit in New Haven Superior Court, alleging Rev. Stephen Bzdrya molested him from the age of ten. The lawsuit claims Bzdrya, who was the pastor at St. Francis Church in New Haven at the time, first abused Dotson after catechism class. Dotson said Bzdrya took him to the church basement and accused him of telling a lie. The suit claims the priest then pulled Dotson's pants down, whipped him with a belt, and then sexually assaulted him.

Dotson claims the abuse went on for years, happening in the rectory of St. Francis as well as St. Hedwig's Church in Naugatuck where Bzdrya delivered sermons occasionally. Attorneys for Dotson say Bzdrya befriended Dotson's mother, and then used it against the young boy. "Bzdrya first infiltrated the family as a friend and father figure and then used their trust and faith against them to fulfill his own sick and twisted sexual desires," Dotson's attorney, Joel Faxon, said.

Bzdrya threatened Dotson that if he ever told about the abuse, he would report Dotson's mother to the welfare department for having too many jobs, and that Dotson would be taken away by DCF, the lawsuit claims.

The priest bribed Dotson by buying him cars and a washer and dryer as a way to keep him quiet, Faxon said.

Bzdrya currently serves as the pastor at St. Augustine's Church in Seymour. Dotson, now a father of three, said he came forward out of concern for the children in the St. Augustine parish.

The suit names Bzdrya, as well as the Hartford Archdiocese, St. Francis Church and St. Hedwig's Church.

A spokesperson said the Archdiocese had receieved no confirmation of a lawsuit and had not been served with the suit as of Wednesday evening.


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