Lawsuit Claims Priest Molested Altar Boy in Late 1980s

Associated Press State & Local Wire
May 1, 2002

A Catholic priest who served prison time last year for trying to entice an underage boy into sex via the Internet is now being accused of molesting an altar boy at a Trumbull church in the late 1980s.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Bridgeport Superior Court, a 26-year-old man called "James Doe" accuses the Rev. John Castaldo of molesting him beginning when he was 12 years old in the sacristy of St. Theresa Church and during a trip with other altar boys to Florida, the Connecticut Post reported.

Bridgeport lawyer Christopher Goulden, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the man, declined to comment.

Castaldo, 42, former chaplain at Stamford's Trinity Catholic High School, was sentenced last year in New York state to one weekend in jail and five years of probation for trying to entice an underage boy he contacted via the Internet to have sex.

The "boy" turned out to be a police officer who was part of an Internet sting operation.

Bridgeport Bishop William Lori later suspended Castaldo's authority to minister. Castaldo is undergoing psychiatric treatment at an undisclosed location, diocesan spokesman Joseph McAleer said.

Following Castaldo's conviction, Lori made a public apology for the priest's actions to students of Trinity Catholic and their parents.

McAleer declined to comment Tuesday on the lawsuit, the second filed by a former altar boy at St. Theresa Church alleging molestation by the priest.

The new lawsuit claims Castaldo forcibly kissed the boy on the mouth and molested him in the church sacristy between 1987 and 1991. The man also alleges that Castaldo forcibly kissed him on the mouth and molested during a trip to Florida in August 1989 with two other altar boys.

The lawsuit claims the plaintiff has suffered severe emotional distress, including depression and frequent nightmares.

The suit also contends the diocese failed to protect the plaintiff from molestation by Castaldo. It seeks unspecified damages.

Castaldo served as parochial vicar at the Trumbull church from 1987 to 1992. He also served at St. Mark's in Stratford from 1992 to 1994, St. Edward the Confessor in New Fairfield from 1994 to 1998 and St. Rose of Lima in Newtown until 1999.

He had previously taught religion at Trinity Catholic High School, then known as Stamford Catholic, from 1984 to 1986.

The Bridgeport diocese, like others around the country, has been criticized for its handling of sexual misconduct by priests. Many of the cases date to when New York Cardinal Edward Egan was Bridgeport bishop.

Seven priests have been removed or resigned in the Bridgeport Diocese as a result of sexual misconduct since Lori took over slightly over a year ago.

Last year the diocese agreed to pay about $15 million to 26 people who alleged they were abused by six priests.


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