Report Faults Deceased Bishops In Bridgeport Priest Abuse

Matt Dwyer
October 01, 2019 - 12:58 pm

Retired Judge Robert Holzberg of Pullman & Comley. Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer.

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(WTIC-AM) -- At least 281 children have been abused in the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport over the years, by at least 71 priests. 

That is according to a report issued today by a law firm hired by the diocese.

Retired judge Robert Holzberg is a member of the law firm, Pullman & Comley.

"The priests who committed these ghastly acts engaged in criminal acts, they violated their vows and their canonical obligations, and the bishops who failed to report violated their obligations under the mandated reporting law," Holzberg said.

The report says there are likely more victims of clergy abusers.  One bishop destroyed records of alleged sexual abuse of minors, and the church's record keeping system was inadequate until the early 2000's.  

The report lays much of the blame at the feet of two deceased bishops who led the diocese from the start of the 1960's through the 1990's, Walter Curtis and Edward Egan. 

They quietly moved abusive priests around instead of removing them.

The report says Egan's first priority was protecting the church from lawsuits instead of helping victims.

The abuse ranged from lewd behavior to violent assaults.

Holzberg says the law firm's review of church records and interviews of victims found nothing that needed to be forwarded to law enforcement.

Bridgeport Bishop Frank Caggiano says the report is an important step to bring healing to anyone harmed by the abuse.

"Having lived through this very dark and sad hour, the church has been changed, perhaps for the rest of our lifetimes and beyond because of the evil and crime of abuse of minors," Caggiano said.