|Priest Accused of Sexual Assault to Remain at Seymour Church for Now
By Quannah Leonard
July 8, 2010
SEYMOUR -- A Roman Catholic priest who has been accused of sexually abusing a New Haven man in the 1980s will remain at St. Augustine Church while Catholic leaders investigate the charges, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford said.
The Rev. Stephen Bzdyra is out of the country leading a pilgrimage, said the Rev. John Gatzak, director of communications for the archdiocese. Representatives of the archdiocese are trying to get in touch Bzdyra regarding the recent accusations, Gatzak said.
On Thursday, the archdiocese received notification of a lawsuit filed Wednesday in New Haven Superior Court by William Dotson, 34. Dotson, a father of three young children, alleges that Bzdyra sexually abused him when he was an altar boy and bribed him with gifts to keep quiet.
Gatzak said Bzdyra will remain an active priest assigned to St. Augustine Church until the archdiocese can determine whether there is credibility to the recent accusations. Bzdyra was ordained in 1979.
In this matter, the archdiocese received no advance indication of the complaint, and had no opportunity to do any investigation, he said.
Generally, when a complaint is received, the archdiocese is notified that some type of inappropriate activity may have taken place, Gatzak said. The individual lodging the complaint would be invited to talk to Sister Mary Kelly, the victim assistance coordinator for the archdiocese.
If the allegation is found credible, the priest would be removed from his ministry, and never allowed to return, Gatzak said.
"In this particular case, Father Bzdyra should be considered innocent until proven guilty," Gatzak said.
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