Jury Backs Claim of Rape by Priest

Associated Press State & Local Wire
October 12, 2001

A federal jury has awarded $850,000 to a Groton man who claimed he was raped by a priest 23 years ago.

The jury made the award Thursday to John Waddington, 37, who had claimed he was sexually assaulted in 1978 by a former Roman Catholic priest who invited him to his room to watch "The Exorcist."

Charles Many, the former priest who was a member of the Society of St. Edmund in Putney, Vt., advised U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall that he intends to ask the verdict be set aside.

Many represented himself during the trial. He continues to deny the attack and declined to comment.

During the trial, the jury heard from both Waddington and a second man, Michael Comeaux, also of Groton, who claimed he fought off a similar attack by Many.

Both men were altar boys at Sacred Heart Church in Groton, where Many served as a priest.

Many was a member of the Society of St. Edmund in Putney until he was released from his vows and returned to lay status in 1995.

Waddington said he repressed the assault until 1985, when, while watching "something on TV" he advised his father that "a similar thing happened to him."


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