Priest's Accuser Still Waiting for Apology

By Steve Urbon
June 20, 2002

A 54-year-old woman from Utica, N.Y., who says she was the victim of sexual abuse by a charismatic Fall River priest when she was a teenager, says she has yet to receive an apology from the diocese of Fall River.

[Photo Caption - Joyce Nebush, with her husband, Frank, says she was the victim of abuse by a Fall River priest and has yet to receive an apology. John Clifford/Daily Sentinel]

But Joyce Nebush said she is pleased in one respect: The attention she has received has already caused at least one other victim of clergy sexual abuse — from another area — to contact her and seek help.

Mrs. Nebush says she was sexually molested by the Rev. Robert S. Kaszinski, the retired pastor of St. Stanislaus parish in Fall River, for years while she was a teenager.

Although the Fall River diocese yesterday issued a press release regarding her claims and expressing regret for the abuse she says she suffered, it has not issued her the apology she has been seeking, she said.

In fact, she said yesterday, there has been no communication of any kind from the diocese to her. Contact has been made solely through her attorney, and it has involved payments for her therapy.

In response to a Standard-Times story Tuesday, the diocese Office of Communications wrote, "The Diocese of Fall River profoundly regrets the abuse Mrs. Nebush suffered and expresses heartfelt sorrow for her and all victims of sexual abuse by clergy."

Without making an explicit connection between the abuse and the Rev. Kaszinski, the diocese then said, "Father Kaszinski has not served in any ministry since the Diocese first learned of an allegation of sexual abuse against him."

It then went on to describe the diocese's policies regarding sexual abuse by priests.

"Shouldn't they be telling me?" asked Mrs. Nebush. "I have not received a phone call or anything in the mail or e-mail apologizing for anything."

Diocese spokesman John Kearns said the statement was issued in response to press inquiries and was not intended to be a personal apology to Mrs. Nebush. He said he did not know whether there would be one, but underscored the fact that the diocese is paying for her therapy as part of its policy.

No one answered the door yesterday at Rev. Kaszinski's Westport home, which he has owned since 1996. The phone number is unpublished.

Mrs. Nebush is the first person to state publicly that she had been abused by Rev. Kaszinski. She and Assonet resident Paul Krupa, a classmate of Mrs. Nebush's who made the allegations that precipitated Rev. Kaszinski's sudden retirement in March, say there are six or more victims, at least two of whom, besides Mrs. Nebush, have retained lawyers.

No civil lawsuits have been filed so far, however, and the statute of limitations has generally run out on offenses committed in the 1960s.

Besides seeking an apology and the return of some jewelry that she once gave to Rev. Kaszinski when she entered a convent, Mrs. Nebush — who later went to nursing school and now works for Catholic Charities — said she wanted to make her story known so that victims of Rev. Kaszinski and of others would come forward and begin repairing the damage in their lives.


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