Priest Abuse Victims Tell Their Stories

By Daniel Tepfer
Connecticut Post [Bridgeport CT]
August 3, 2003

In exclusive interviews with the Connecticut Post, three men talk about abuse they said they received at the hands of three priests in the Hartford Archdiocese, the Rev. Thomas Glynn, the Rev. Raymond Paul and the Rev. Stephen Foley.

Though the alleged abuse occurred 30 years ago, the men say they are still haunted by what was done to them.

Glynn has since died and the archdiocese has refused to provide the locations and status of the other two priests.

Kevin Zile grew up in the Forestville section of Bristol, the middle of four children.

He recalled that his parents were "extremely" religious. The family attended St. Matthews Church in Forestville and Zile attended the school there.

In 1966, the Rev. Thomas Glynn was assigned to St. Matthews Church.

"He was charismatic, outgoing and everybody wanted to be close to him," Zile recalled. "He knew important people and had pictures of himself with President Kennedy on his walls."

Zile said Glynn enjoyed entertaining and often had large groups of people for get togethers at the rectory. Zile, then 12, would help out in the rectory and help prepare Glynn's meals.

Zile recalled one afternoon when it was very quiet in the rectory and Glynn called him upstairs to his room.

"He was lying in bed in just his underwear. He let me have two cocktails, stingers, I think they were called. I remember blacking out."

When Zile came to he said he found he had been sodomized.

Zile said he didn't understand what had happened to him at first. He said he threw his underwear in the trash and then walked the two and a half miles home. Once there, he didn't say anything to his parents.

Zile said despite that incident he continued to return to Glynn. "I was trying to get that love I wasn't getting from my father from Father Glynn," he explained. "He would say how special I was to have the love only a priest can have for a boy."

"Throughout my whole childhood my father only took us once out for dinner and that was at the local McDonald's. But I remember the first time Father Glynn took me to New York City and we drove across the Triborough Bridge. He took me to this restaurant, it was like a castle and the maitre D knew him by name. He made me feel special."

In 1968, Glynn was transferred to Holy Trinity Church in Wallingford. Zile continued his weekend visits with Glynn and in the late 1960s his parents agreed to let him spend whole summers with the priest.

Zile said in 1971 Glynn was transferred to St. Clare Church in East Haven and he continued to visit him in the rectory there. He said he worked in the rectory, doing painting and cleaning and prepared Glynn's meals.

Glynn had a two-story cottage at the beach in East Haven and often entertained large groups of people there during the summer.

Zile said Glynn brought him along to do some of the cooking and preparation work for the parties.

"I had to sleep in Glynn's room at night and he would abuse me on a regular basis after everyone else had gone to bed," he said.

Later Glynn would take him clubbing in New York City and buy him drinks even though he was under age. He said he often ended up blacking out in Glynn's car and when he awoke he was bound and being abused by one of Glynn's male friends either in the car or a hotel room.

He said the abuse went on until he graduated from high school.

"I was a full-blown alcoholic by that point, drinking and using drugs on a daily basis, but it helped to block the memories of what he did to me."

In 1983-84 he was living in East Hartford when he said he received a phone call from Glynn.

"I fell apart when I heard his voice on the phone and I told him if he ever came near me I would in no uncertain terms kill him and I meant it," he said.

Zile said he told his parents what Glynn did to him.

"My father didn't believe me but my mother, I think she always had a feeling something wasn't right because there were times when I came home after being with Glynn that I would sleep for four days," he said.

In 1984, Zile said he contacted archdiocese officials about what Glynn had done to him but nothing was done. Glynn died in 1993.

Zile said the following years were filled with alcoholism and drugs as he tried to erase the memories of what Glynn had done to him. In the early 1990s he attempted suicide.

Now 50, Zile is a psychiatric nurse and works at a school in Massachusetts for children with severe learning disabilities.

John "Jack" Collins, was the youngest of three children, living in the Boston area with his parents.

His father, a firefighter, was an alcoholic and abusive and when Collins was a young teenager his mother took him and his sister and left. She moved to Hartford where they rented an apartment in a decaying neighborhood. But their mother was not able to earn much and she was constantly afraid her husband would find her.

Collins began hanging around a Hartford firehouse after school, when he met the Rev. Stephen Foley, a former chaplain at the Fire Department.

Foley took an interest in the young man and talked to Collins' mother about getting him into high school in the suburban town of Bloomfield where Foley was pastor of Christ the King Church.

Foley got Collins a position with the Blue Hills Volunteer Fire Department in Bloomfield in 1971.

"Father Foley had a chief's car and would let me drive around with him. He honed my interest in the Fire Department and took me around and showed me the different firehouses in the area. He had all these radios in his car where you could listen to all the calls come in," Collins recalled.

"I never really wanted to leave Boston and when we came to Hartford I really didn't want to be there. It was a crappy neighborhood and I was away from my friends and my mother wouldn't let me contact them for fear my father would find out where we were," he said.

"So as a result I was very isolated. And here was this guy who wanted to take me under his wing, it really perked my spirits up. What I needed was a safe environment to talk about what was going on in my life and he provided that."

Foley used to drive Collins up to the top of a hill behind Christ the King Church in Bloomfield at night to listen to fire calls on his radio.

But while they sat there he said Foley tried to do more.

"We would be sitting there and he would take his hand and try to touch my crotch. I told him to stop, that I wasn't comfortable with it but he kept trying."

Toward the end of the summer of 1971 Collins said Foley offered him a job in the church taking care of the lawn and the gardens.

"Around September on a weekend he asked me to stay over. I didn't want to before because I didn't feel comfortable but he finally got me to agree to stay over one night in the rectory," he recounted.

He said they went out to eat and afterward came back to the rectory.

"I started feeling sick and went into my bedroom and fell asleep. When I woke up he was sitting on the edge of the bed, rubbing my stomach," Collins said.

He said that Foley told him he wanted to help him feel better and told him to come out into the sitting room.

"He started rubbing my legs and then put his hands in my underwear and started masturbating me. I got really angry and jumped up. I started yelling at him and he tried to make light of what he had done," he said.

The next morning Collins said he was working outside the church and Foley came up behind him and reached around and grabbed his crotch.

"I had a pair of pruning shears and I told him I would kill him if he ever touched me again. I then went inside and I called my mother and she came and picked me up."

Collins said he didn't tell his mother at that time what had occurred.

"She was working at the church and was going through this time in her life when she really wanted to get back into the church and I couldn't bring myself to talk to her about it," he said.

Collins said that was the beginning of a bad time in his life.

"I just remember feeling very angry and it kind of threw me over the edge. While I knew kids who drank, I had never drank before but I started drinking because of this and by my junior year in high school I was a full-blown alcoholic."

Collins said he told a firefighter he was friendly with what Foley had done to him and the man promised to confront the priest about it. "So I left it in his hands," he said. He said Foley gave him a wide berth after that.

After graduating from high school, Collins left Hartford and eventually ended up in the Boston Fire Department. He said in late 1988 he was a lieutenant in the department when Foley drove up to his firehouse.

"He pulled in front of the firehouse and got out and said 'Hi Jack, how are you.' I was paralyzed with this fear and anger and I lost it and started yelling at him," he said.

In 1993, after a few more confrontations with Foley, Collins said he called the Connecticut State Police.

He said he met with two state troopers and told them what Foley had done to him. "They told me they couldn't do anything with what I had told them because it was beyond the statute of limitations."

Now 48, Collins said what Foley did to him has continued to affect him over the years. He was married and had a family but could not hold on to the relationship.

"I literally can't stand to have a guy stand closer than a few feet to me. I have severe trust problems. He is a criminal. I'm not beyond the point where I don't think he is sick and shouldn't get help but he should be taken to task for what he did to me."

Bill, 46, is an auto mechanic. He asked that as a condition of this interview his name not be used.

He said he was molested by the Rev. Raymond Paul as a young teenager.

The oldest of six children, Bill grew up in Wolcott. His family was very religious and attended St. Ann's Church in Bristol every Sunday.

He was 15 when two days before Christmas in December 1972 he was caught in a house fire. Bill said he suffered severe burns on his legs, arms and hands, and spent two months in St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury.

He underwent 13 skin graft operations.

"In between operations I would be bedridden, my hands and legs secured to the bed like I was in traction, unable to move," he related.

One night Rev. Paul came into his room.

"He was talking to me and started to scratch my stomach where I had skin taken because it was very itchy. Then his hand moved down to my thighs and I guess you could say he got carried away," he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

"After that he would come in to my room late at night and he would grab and masturbate me," he continued. "I was in no position to fend him off. He told me as he was doing it that it would be all right. I was a young kid, scared, burned and in pain 24/7."

He said it went on for about three weeks.

Bill said he told his mother what the Rev. Paul had done to him when he got out of the hospital. "We didn't have much insurance and my mother didn't want to slap another thing on my father's lap. My mother was also afraid that if she complained to the church they would just tell her she was crazy," he said.

But when the Boston church scandal broke Bill said his mother called him and told him he should complain about what happened to him.

"I can't get what he did to me out of my head. I tried to put it into a bottle but that didn't help either," he said.



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