Second Claim against Seymour Priest

Valley Independent Sentinel
August 5, 2010

An anonymous man from Watertown filed a lawsuit Thursday, claiming he was sexually abused by a Seymour Catholic priest.

The man — referred to as “John Doe” in the suit — is the second person in less than a month to file a lawsuit against Father Stephen Bzdyra, who was most recently a priest at St. Augustine Church in Seymour.

The first suit was filed in July by New Haven resident William Dotson, 34.

Both men are represented by New Haven attorney Joel Faxon of Stratton Faxon.

The Latest Lawsuit

John Doe claims he was molested by Bzdyra on one occasion, while he was a student at St. Hedwig’s School in Naugatuck.

Doe was 7 at the time of the alleged incident, and is now in his 30s, Faxon said.

“Bzdyra took him to the basement. . . and told him to pull down his pants because he needs to be disciplined,” Faxon said. “He takes him over his lap, massages his butt and then tries to masturbate him.”

Faxon said Doe told his parents about the incident when he was 18, but his parents did not believe him.

“They held Bzdyra at such a high esteem, that they held Bzdyra over their own child,” Faxon said.

Calls seeking comment from the Archdiocese of Hartford were not returned Thursday.

The lawsuit is filed against Bzdyra, the Archdiocese of Hartford and St. Hedwig Church.

Faxon said he is seeking monetary damages.

“What is the appropriate compensation for a person who is masturbated by a priest?” Faxon asked. “In my judgment, that’s a lot of money. Several million dollars.”

The First Suit

Dotson claimed he was repeatedly raped and molested by Bzdyra during his time as an altar boy for St. Francis Church in New Haven, where Bzdyra served before being transferred to Naugatuck.

Dotson was about 10 years old at the time of the alleged assault.

Dotson’s mother was on public assistance at the time. Faxon said in order to keep Dotson quiet, the priest threatened to report her to the authorities for violating public assistance regulations.

In both suits, Faxon says the church knew, or should have known, about the abuses.

Both Dotson and Doe developed substance abuse problems after the abuse, the suits claim.

Speaking Up

Dotson came forward about the abuse after Bzdyra allegedly tried to befriend his son on Facebook.

Doe contacted Faxon after seeing news coverage about Dotson’s suit.

Bzdyra has been placed on leave since the first suit was filed.

Following the suspension, the Archdiocese said it would launch an investigation into the claims, according to media reports.


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