Father Robert Morrissey, of Saint Mary’s Church
in Ridgefield, Conn., on Thursday, July 18, 1996.
(AP file Photo/Douglas Healey)
BRIDGEPORT – A former pastor in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, suspended following allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenaged boy in the early 1980s, has died.
Robert P. Morrissey, 69, former pastor of St. Mary Parish in Ridgefield, died last week in Jupiter, FLA, where he had been living. He was buried Tuesday in a family plot in Flushing, N.Y.
“During this difficult time, the diocese seeks both to proceed with compassion for those who have been hurt and with prayerful desire for God’s mercy on those removed from ministry,” said Diocese Spokesman Brian Wallace. “Acknowledging that this can also be a painful moment for victims of sexual abuse and their families who carry the burden of their experience, we pray that they may find healing and move forward with their lives. The diocese asks for prayers for all involved.”
In 2002 Morrissey was removed from active ministry following accusations that he and two other priests, the Rev. Albert McGoldrick, pastor of St. Paul Church in Greenwich and the Rev. Sherman Gray, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church in Stamford, had sexually assaulted a boy from 1979 to 1983, beginning when he was 15. At the time, Gray and McGoldrick were assigned to parishes in Stamford and Morrissey was at a Greenwich parish.
The diocese later settled a lawsuit in the case for an undisclosed sum.
After he resigned as pastor of St. Mary’s, the diocese hired an auditor to investigate the loss of $500,000 from the parish in an unauthorized brokerage account.
Diocese officials at the time said Morrissey had hired a financial consultant who transferred money from an existing parish brokerage account to a new account. Trading in this account resulted in the $500,000 loss. While Morrissey was found to have violated diocesan policy by hiring the consultant no criminal charges were ever brought.