The Egan File

Hartford Courant
March 17, 2002,1,5201735.story?coll=hc-headlines-home

[See also Egan Protected Abusive Priests, the main article of this feature, with links to related articles.]

On Oct. 7, 1997, and again on Sept. 23, 1999, Bishop Edward M. Egan was questioned by lawyers for people alleging sexual abuse by priests in the Bridgeport diocese. Following are excerpts from Egan's depositions, which were sealed by the court as part of about $12 million settlement last year:

On scope of abuse:

Egan: These things happen in such small numbers. It's marvelous when you think of the hundreds and hundreds of priests, how very few have even been accused, and how very few have even come close to having anyone prove anything. Claims are not of interest to me. Realities are. Claims are claims. Allegations are allegations.

Q: And are you saying that over time, the instances of clergy sexual abuse have increased?

Egan: Over time the allegations have increased.

Q: OK. Well, I'd like to -

Egan: Did you hear that? Not instances - your word was instances.

Q: Bishop, I can hear quite well ...

On Pcolka case:

Q: Are you aware of the fact that it involves instances of oral sex, anal sex, beatings, violence, sadistic verbiage - are you aware of the extent of the claims in this case?

Egan: I am not aware of any of those things. I am aware of the claims of those things, the allegations of those things.

Q: And you clearly are aware of the number of people that are making these similar claims during the same period of time, involving Father Pcolka, correct?

Egan: I am aware that there are a number of people who know one another, some are related to one another, have the same lawyers and so forth, I am aware of the circumstances, yes.

Q: So you understand that there is a significant part of the Catholic faithful that have claimed to be affected by Father Pcolka's sexual abuses, correct?

Egan: I am not aware that a significant part of the Catholic faithful claim to have been affected by father's abuses, no. ... The Catholic faithful of Fairfield County, of which this diocese is comprised, is 360,911 signed up in our parishes. I believe we can safely say there's probably another 150,000 or more not signed up in our parishes. Is 12 a significant portion? And then let us please remember that the 12 have never been proved to be telling the truth.

Q: And Father Pcolka, let us remember, won't tell us the truth because he continues to take the Fifth Amendment ...

On Brett case:

Q: OK. And from that memo you became aware of the fact, did you not, Bishop Egan, that under your predecessor's administration of the Diocese, it was decided that they would feign hepatitis and that is why he was not around?

Egan: That's what the final sentence says on the second page.

Q: So they would hide the complaint of sexual abuse and tell persons that he had hepatitis and that is why he was not around?

Egan: I wouldn't read it that way.

Q: You wouldn't?

Egan: No, I would read it that this man is going away, and if anyone asks, say he's not well, he has hepatitis. That's quite a bit different than saying you are going to hide it. If someone were going to ask - I don't perceive it that way, that's not my style, but I think that it's altogether understandable to anybody reading it. This person has been accused of doing such and such, we're going to be sending him away for attention. I wouldn't have done this, but I don't think it's a serious matter. Someone would say, well, if anybody asks, make it that he's not well, that he has hepatitis. The word "feign," of course, makes it somewhat dramatic, but my reading of it is not - my reading is the one I have just given you.

Q: You say that - he is not only accused but he confesses, does he not?

Egan: Yes, but he is accused and he confesses.

Q: He says, look it, he admits apparently that he had oral sex with this young boy and that he actually bit his penis and advised the boy to go to confession elsewhere?

Egan: Well, I think you're not exactly right. I don't think it was a young boy. Now, I can't remember every detail, but it seemed to me that the gentleman in question was an 18-year-old student at Sacred Heart University.

Q: Are you aware of the fact that in December of 1964 that an individual under 21 years of age was a minor in the state of Connecticut?

Egan: My problem, my clarification, had to do with the expression "a young boy" about an 18-year-old.

Q: A young - all right, a minor, is that better then?

Egan: Fine.

On allowing Brett to remain a priest:

Q: Well, isn't it a fact that by not asking him to remove himself or by not suspending him, in effect you concluded that you would allow him to remain as a priest?

Egan: We had indications from psychiatrists that he was comporting himself appropriately, and our decision was to continue until we came to further conclusions because of the other indications.

Q: The fact that you - at that point you allowed him to remain a priest, that was your conclusion?

Egan: Yes, on the basis of analysis and by a professional.



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