48 Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse in Hartford Archdiocese


Courtesy of hartfordcourant.com

Christiana Lenzer, Staff Writer

The Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford released a list to the public on Tuesday, January 25th of 48 clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.  Along with the heavily littered list, the archdiocese also announced the $50.6 million it has paid to settle more than 140 claims of sexual abuse, not specifying how many claims were made against each priest nor when the alleged incidents occurred.  

36 clergy members were accused of sexual abuse of a minor between the year 1953 to the present day. The prolonged period of time had resulted in the expired criminal statute of limitations for most lawsuits, resulting in the inability to charge the accused. In the last 3 years, five priests have been laicized, or permanently stripped of their clerical authority. 

Archbishop Leonard Blair claimed that the Archdiocese has hired retired state Superior Court Judge Antonio Robaina to conduct an independent investigation into the abuse claims. Robaina will perform a complete review of all the church’s files dating back to 1953 when the diocese was formed. There is no time estimate for when the report will be completed. 

Blair released in a statement, “For the Catholic Church this is a very challenging time inasmuch as the great crime and sin of sexual abuse continues to cast a very dark cloud over the Church’s leadership and her clergy…The lingering unhealed wounds from past abuse continue to cry out for further actions and answers”. 

As for survivor David Gianfredi, now 57, his reaction to Tuesday’s release of names offered him hope for the future as well as a hunger to prosecute those who enabled these crimes for decades. “It’s way late, but it’s a good first step toward credibility,” Gianfredi released. “If they wouldn’t have covered things up over the years and handled it like they’re handling it now, there would be a lot fewer cases, a lot fewer people getting hurt, me being one of them”.

Among the accusations released Tuesday: Of the 48 members from the Archdiocese on the list, 23 are now dead and none are currently priests- the average settlement being just more than $356,000. Of the $50.6 million settlement, nearly half was paid by the church’s insurance carrier, the rest from the general reserve fund.