Priest Admits 'Sexual Sickness' in Suit

By Daniel Tepfer
Connecticut Post
January 13, 2005

A Roman Catholic priest, accused in a lawsuit of molesting a 14-year-old altar boy at a Trumbull church in the early 1990s, admits in a deposition that he suffers from a "sexual sickness."

According to court papers released Wednesday, the Rev. John Castaldo said he had the sickness at the time he slept in a bed with the boy, although he denied molesting him.

He also said the sickness later drove him to try to solicit sex over the Internet from someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy.

Superior Court jury selection began Tuesday in the lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport brought by the former altar boy. Two jurors were selected by late Wednesday.

The trial is expected to begin Feb. 1 and last three weeks.

New York Cardinal Edward Egan, who was bishop of the Bridgeport Diocese when the alleged abuse took place, has agreed to give a deposition Jan. 27 in Manhattan.

In May 2001, Castaldo, 46, then a chaplain at Trinity Catholic High School, was suspended following his arrest in an Internet sting operation run by authorities in Westchester County, N.Y.

He was charged with contacting someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy over the Internet to have sex.

Testifying under oath in the November deposition, Castaldo said he suffers from a sexual sickness.

"I think I was in a state of depression I think that it was a problem with my sexuality and being unable to act it out," he said.

Castaldo continued that he believes it was the sickness that led to his arrest and that he had the condition the entire time he was a priest.

The lawsuit claims Castaldo kissed the 14-year-old altar boy on the mouth at least five times in the sacristy at St. Theresa Church in Trumbull during 1990.

It states Castaldo took the plaintiff and two other altar boys on a trip to Disney World in August 1991 and sexually assaulted the plaintiff during that trip.

Castaldo served as parochial vicar at St. Theresa Church from 1987 to 1992.

Although in the deposition, Castaldo admits he slept in the same bed with the 14-year-old boy during the Disney World trip, he denied there was anything inappropriate about it.

The court documents were included as part of the plaintiff's defense to a motion by Castaldo's lawyer to prevent the plaintiff's lawyers from telling the jury about Castaldo's criminal conviction for trying to entice an underage boy he contacted via the Internet to have sex.

Police said Castaldo posed on the Internet as a gym teacher and attempted to solicit sex from someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy.

He later pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to one weekend in jail and five years of probation.

Castaldo's lawyer, Robert Golger, contends that testimony about this conviction would be prejudicial to his client and is not relevant.

"It's all taken out of context," Golger said of the portions of his client's deposition in the motion. "It was a three-day deposition and you have to look at the whole transcript to get the proper context."

The plaintiff's lawyers, Ernest Teitell and Paul Slager, contend the similarities of the case both involve 14-year-old males make the evidence that much more relevant.

Judge Chase Rogers is expected to rule on the motion prior to Castaldo taking the witness stand.

Daniel Tepfer, who covers state courts and law enforcement issues, can be reached at 330-6308


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