Bishop Reilly Set to Give Deposition - Man Says Bishop Rueger Molested Him

By Kathleen A. Shaw
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
April 8, 2003

Worcester — Bishop Daniel P. Reilly will answer questions under oath tomorrow in connection with a lawsuit that a Shrewsbury man has brought against the Catholic Diocese of Worcester and Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger.

Sime M. Braio, 52, alleges in his suit that he was sexually abused and raped by Bishop Rueger at age 13. Bishop Rueger, who in July flatly denied the accusations, testified in a deposition last week. Mr. Braio is scheduled to testify at 9 a.m. Thursday.The diocese attempted to block public access to the depositions of both Bishop Reilly and Bishop Rueger but was overruled March 31 by Judge Mary Lou Rupp in Worcester Superior Court. The diocese also asked the court to block Bishop Reilly from giving testimony.

Diocesan lawyer James Gavin Reardon Jr. argued that Bishop Reilly did not come to Worcester until years after the alleged incidents involving Bishop Rueger and Mr. Braio in the 1960s. The judge said Bishop Reilly has "institutional knowledge" of the diocese and should testify. She added that he can be questioned about the House of Affirmation.

Daniel J. Shea of Houston, the lawyer representing Mr. Braio, said Bishop Reilly's testimony is relevant because he made public statements after the suit was filed last July indicating that Mr. Braio tried to extort money from the diocese and he intended to seek criminal action against him through the office of District Attorney John J. Conte. Mr. Conte declined to bring criminal charges.

Mr. Shea said it could take a month before the depositions go through the legal process and become part of the public record in the suit.

Bishop Reilly's deposition, which is testimony taken under oath and recorded by a court reporter, is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. in the law offices of Mr. Reardon, at 1 Exchange Place.

The diocese also filed a motion in Worcester Superior Court to dismiss the suit, citing charitable immunity, among other reasons. Mr. Shea yesterday filed an emergency motion with the court to stay action on the diocese's motion until after Bishop Reilly is deposed.

"I intend to ask him a lot of things," Mr. Shea said.

Mr. Reardon argued in court that Mr. Shea intended to ask Bishop Reilly about the now-defunct House of Affirmation in Whitinsville and this line of questioning had no relevance to the lawsuit. Mr. Shea said he sees the House of Affirmation as being very relevant to his questioning of Bishop Reilly.

Mr. Shea, who represents several victims of clergy abuse, said he is alleging that the diocese engaged in a pattern of conspiracy that covered up sexual abuse of children and teenagers for decades. That assertion has set the stage for him to ask questions in a number of areas, he said.

He asked for records going back to 1960 on accused priests. The diocese recently filed an objection to the request saying personnel files of accused priests are "irrelevant" and not "calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence" and constituted a burden to the diocese. The diocese did turn over the personnel file of the Rev. Jean-Paul Gagnon, an accused priest whose alleged victim is represented by Mr. Shea.

Bishop Reilly has given depositions in lawsuits involved alleged sexual abuse by priests in Rhode Island and Connecticut, where he formerly served. This is the first time he has been deposed in connecting with a Worcester suit.

Mr. Shea also represents alleged victims in suits involving allegations against the Rev. Robert E. Kelley, the Rev. Lee F. Bartlett and Raymond Tremblay of May Street, Worcester, a former religious education teacher.


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