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Friday, August 28, 2015


Admitted Pedophile, former priest Lou Paturzo supports Pedro Segarra

As the old saying goes, we are judged by the company we keep. Imagine my surprise a couple weeks ago when I saw Pedro Segarra proudly tweeting out a picture of one of his supporters. I recognized the person in the picture as Lou Paturzo, a former Catholic priest who was accused of molesting young boys while he was a Catholic priest. Paturzo was apparently removed from the priesthood by the Archdiocese of Hartford after he admitted to his deviant acts and to molesting the boys while he was assigned to a parish in Waterbury  and acting as a basketball coach for boys. 

Paturzo, who admitted to the claims made by the two men, was stripped of his priestly faculties by the archdiocese,

News articles related to the molestation and Paturzo's removal as a priest are below from at least 3 different newspaper articles at the time. Paturzo's actions , as well as those of other priests sexually molesting boys resulted in a Civil judgement against the Archdiocese of Hartford in excess of $22 million dollars.

In campaign filings released this week, he Segarra campaign also lists Paturzo as a consultant that they have paid at least $2400.00 . Is this the best we can do ? What's next? A Segarra appointment to the City's Youth Services Department?
Page 98 from the Segarra filings listing payments to a former priest and admitted pedophile.

The full campaign filing reports for Segarra can be viewed here, the Paturzo listing is on page 98

From the Hartford Courant
An Arizona man is suing the Hartford archdiocese for sexual abuse he says was committed in the 1970s by the Rev. Louis Paturzo, a well-known activist priest who worked with the city's troubled youth until the first accusations against him surfaced in 2002.
Edward Cerninka was a seventh-grade student at The Reverend Daniel Barry Junior High School in Hamden when he met Paturzo in 1976.
According to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in New Haven Superior Court, Paturzo was assigned to the Blessed Sacrament Church in Hamden, which was next door to the school, and helped coach the basketball team, which is how he met Cerninka.

In late 1976, Paturzo befriended Cerninka's parents and then asked Cerninka to play on the travel team.

According the lawsuit, Paturzo first molested Cerninka in late 1976 and the abuse continued through August 1978. Cerninka's attorney, Thomas McNamara, declined to describe the alleged abuse.
Two men who accused Paturzo in 2002 said he fondled them in the early 1970s, when he was working as a deacon but had not yet been ordained
Paturzo, who admitted to the claims made by the two men, was stripped of his priestly faculties by the archdiocese, and he resigned from his part-time job as a peer mediator consultant at Quirk Middle School in Hartford. The archdiocese paid out $22 million in 2005 to settle claims against 14 of its priests, including Paturzo.

Most recently, Paturzo was known to be working as the director of the New Day transitional program for criminal offenders in Hartford. Attempts to reach Paturzo Wednesday were unsuccessful.
The lawsuit claims that church officials failed to report complaints about Paturzo's sexually abusing at least one other minor to the proper authorities. According to McNamara, the church knew Paturzo was molesting boys before he befriended Cerninka.

McNamara said he interviewed the parents of one of Paturzo's earlier victims, who told him they reported the priest's behavior to his superior at Blessed Sacrament Church in the fall of 1976. The priest then promised the boy's parents it would not happen again, McNamara said.
The Rev. John Gatzak, spokesman for the Hartford archdiocese, said Wednesday that the archdiocese has a policy of not commenting publicly on ongoing litigation. He also said Paturzo, while not officially defrocked by the Vatican, can no longer present himself or function as a priest.

"He cannot claim to be a priest, and he cannot dress like a priest," Gatzak said.
Paturzo, who was ordained in 1973, was sent for evaluation and treatment at two psychiatric institutions in the 1990s after the archdiocese received an anonymous complaint by a mother who accused him of fondling her son while he was serving as a deacon in Hamden. Although that complaint was investigated by state police, it was not proven.

The second allegation against Paturzo was filed in February of 2002 by a man who said he was groped by Paturzo in a Waterbury rectory in 1972.
When that complaint became public, so did the other, and Paturzo was removed from active ministry.
Contact Elizabeth Hamilton at

Former Hamden priest named in abuse suit

(New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Feb. 7--A former Hamden man now living in Arizona has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Hartford, claiming he was sexually abused by a priest 30 years ago.

The suit, filed in Superior Court in New Haven by attorney Thomas M. McNamara of the New Haven firm of McNamara & Goodman, claims that the former priest, Louis Paturzo, sexually abused the plaintiff from 1976 to 1978 when he was a student at the former Rev. Daniel J. Barry Junior High School in Hamden.

The suit says that Paturzo, who was a priest at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Hamden, befriended the plaintiff's parents and in late 1976 asked the boy -- then in seventh grade -- to play on a traveling basketball team that he coached.

The New Haven Register is withholding the plaintiff's name because it does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

The suit claims Paturzo "had the proclivity to sexually abuse, sexually exploit and sexually assault minor children," and that the archdiocese and its employees failed to supervise his interaction with minors, failed to investigate and report his suspicious conduct, and failed to inform or warn others of his conduct, among other allegations.

Paturzo has been accused of sexual abuse before and is no longer working as a priest, according to the Rev. John P. Gatzak, spokesman for the archdiocese. Gatzak on Wednesday didn't have any information about where Paturzo is now.

McNamara said the abuse had a "deleterious effect" on the plaintiff's life and that now, at 43, he has "finally realized it was time to stand up for himself and take back what was taken from him."

The fact that the incidents went unreported to authorities at the time was another example of the "we protect our own" mentality, McNamara said. "I've been doing these cases since 1992, and I've never had knowledge of any priest or bishop complying with the mandate of reporting" to police.

But Gatzak said things have changed since the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops passed the charter for the protection of children and young people in 2002. The penalty for being accused of sexual abuse is that one can no longer function as a priest, he said. Priests are mandated to immediately report alleged sexual abuse on the part of other priests to the authorities and the archbishop, he said.

"The church has made remarkable progress" in the protection of young people against such crimes, and is committed to making sure history doesn't repeat itself, Gatzak said.

The archdiocese several years ago paid $22 million to settle sexual abuse claim

  Priest's Past Overtakes Him

By Matt Burgard and Maurice Timothy Reidy
Hartford Courant [Connecticut]
May 18, 2002

For almost 30 years, the Rev. Louis Paturzo's secret stayed hidden from the world, driving him, he said, to find redemption in his work in Hartford's poorest neighborhoods.

On Friday, Paturzo resigned from his job at a Hartford middle school after acknowledging two complaints that he fondled adolescent boys in the early 1970s.

Paturzo, best known for his work with troubled youths in the city — a ministry that included mediating between violent street gangs during the lethal drug wars of the early 1990s — said he could not discuss specifics of the allegations.

But he said he has carried with him the guilt and embarrassment of the acts of a sexually confused young man, and the hope that 21 years of working with the city's poor residents will lead to forgiveness.

"When people tell me what a great person I am, I can't help but recoil and shake my head," Paturzo, 54, said in an interview with The Courant. "In many ways, I do these things to seek atonement."

In two separate but similar complaints, Paturzo is accused of groping two adolescent boys in the 1970s when he was serving as a deacon, before his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest.

One complaint was filed anonymously in 1993 by a mother who accused Paturzo of fondling her son in Hamden 17 years earlier. Although the complaint was investigated by state police, it was not proven. However, the Hartford archdiocese sent Paturzo to two institutions for psychiatric evaluation and therapy.

The second allegation was filed in February by a man, now in his 40s, who said he was groped by Paturzo in a Waterbury rectory in 1972. The complainant, a Washington state businessman, has requested a $208,000 settlement from the archdiocese.

Paturzo and a lawyer for the archdiocese both said Friday that the psychiatrists who evaluated Paturzo concluded that he did not pose a threat to young people or the rest of the community.

Paturzo resigned from his part-time job as a peer mediator consultant at Quirk Middle School Friday after two interviews with The Courant about the complaints. The school system accepted his resignation and the Hartford archdiocese is investigating the latest complaint.

John W. Sitarz, an archdiocese lawyer, defended the achdiocese's actions in the mid-1990s."I think it's fair to say that responsible action was taken in response to that anonymous complaint. I can't get into details, but in my experience, it was a very appropriate response," he said.

Sitarz said the archdiocese was not aware from the outset that Paturzo was working at Quirk. When officials learned about it, they were assured he was primarily working with adult interns and was supervised when talking to children.

"The only thing that I heard is that in a given case that might be particularly complex, he will sit down with the intern and the student. It's uncommon, but it does happen," Sitarz said.

Paturzo did not deny the allegations made in the complaints, including the most recent one made by a former choirboy in a Waterbury parish. Instead, he spoke of an "immature" 24-year-old deacon whose "stunted" sexual development led to inappropriate acts.

Paturzo's background focuses attention on yet another long-concealed issue within the Catholic church — namely, how to handle priests whose sexual and emotional immaturity makes them a potential threat to young people.

In the most recent complaint, Paturzo is accused of sneaking the victim, who was then 13 or 14, into his room at the rectory at Sacred Heart Church in Waterbury. Paturzo threw the boy onto his bed and licked and nuzzled his face while reaching for his groin, according to the victim's complaint sent to the archdiocese.

When the victim, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Robert, resisted, Paturzo seemed confused and told the boy to relax, saying they could have fun wrestling and playing, according to the victim's complaint.

In several letters to the Hartford archdiocese, Robert said he felt ashamed for waiting almost 30 years to bring the allegations to light, but felt compelled to act in the midst of the ongoing national church sexual abuse scandal.

Robert has also asked the church to consider offering the monetary settlement for the damages allegedly caused by Paturzo. He said he has managed to live a productive life despite the trauma of his alleged encounter with "Deacon Louie," as he calls Paturzo in his letters.

"The way I was raised as an Irish Catholic, this was a priest. You never said anything against a priest," Robert said. "I feel if I had done something, maybe I could have saved some [other] kids."

Sitarz said Hartford Archbishop Daniel Cronin, who earlier this week agreed to notify state authorities of all sexual abuse allegations against priests, has not decided what action to take if the allegations against Paturzo are confirmed.

"The sad fact is that he's been doing great work," Sitarz said, echoing comments by other city officials and community activists. "But if our policy says ABC has to happen, it will happen."

Robert's complaint came nine years after a similar complaint was lodged against Paturzo, this one in the form of an anonymous letter sent by a woman who saw the priest on the TV news. The woman, who did not identify herself, was alarmed to see that state police were donating a van to support Paturzo's Hartford youth initiatives. She accused the priest of fondling her son in the 1970s while he was assigned to a church in Hamden, according to three law enforcement sources.

State police made inquiries about the letter to Paturzo and the archdiocese, but no further action was taken because the victim could not be identified, sources said.

But the archdiocese took action anyway, sending Paturzo to the Institute of Living in Hartford for short outpatient treatment and an out-of-state institution for five months of inpatient treatment. Stan Wasilewski, a retired Hartford police officer who served on the department's gang task force, said he called the archdiocese after learning of the state police investigation. Wasilewski, who like many of his colleagues on the task force were suspicious of Paturzo's relationships with gang members, said he asked them to remove Paturzo from Hartford.

"This is a guy who should not be working with teenagers, period. The archdiocese and the school district should never have let him take this position. It's outrageous."

In the same time period, Paturzo was transferred to a new church. When Wasilewski learned Paturzo was back in Hartford about a year later, Wasilewski said he called the archdiocese to complain again but was told Paturzo was fit to remain in the city ministry.

Jacqueline Hardy, a Hartford public school spokeswoman, said the district reluctantly accepted Paturzo's resignation Friday.

"It's really a tragedy because of all the tremendous things he has accomplished and contributed to the young people of this city," she said, adding that counselors will be on hand to talk about the priest's resignation when students return to school Monday. "Everyone is really upset. These allegations are really a surprise."

Hardy said the district conducted a thorough background check on Paturzo when he was hired to work at Quirk three years ago. The priest was asked to take the job by school officials who thought he would be ideal for addressing issues of violence and anger management under a federal grant, working out of Quirk's Student and Family Assistance Center. He was brought in to deal with those issues after the school shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Paturzo also works part time as a prison chaplain at three correctional centers for adults in Connecticut while participating in many Hartford community improvement agencies such as the city drug and alcohol commission.

In separate interviews, the downcast, unassuming Paturzo confessed that much of the good work he has done in his 21 years in Hartford has been done with an impulse to right the wrongs of his past.

In the dead of night, "Father Lou," as the Hartford kids call him, was known to leave his apartment to go to the home of a poor Hartford family whose son has been killed in a gang fight. Many times, Paturzo has presided over funerals of young men cut down in the city's relentless and merciless turf wars.

And throughout, whenever Paturzo won yet another accolade for his commitment to the city's youth, he said he often thought of the boys whose lives were damaged by the "boundaries" he crossed all those years ago.

At times, he said, he felt confident that his hard work and devotion to the community had earned him redemption.

"I can say with a clear conscience that in 21 years in Hartford there has never been a kid who could say I behaved immorally or inappropriately toward them," he said. "I'm not the same priest who came to Hartford 21 years ago. I've grown up."

But in recent weeks, he said he has observed with dread the black cloud that now hangs over his church. He has seen the televised images of priests such as John Geoghan of Boston being dragged into court on charges of sexually abusing young boys.

Now Paturzo said he fears the revelations of his past will destroy not only his prospects for continuing to work in the city, but also the fragile relationships he has forged with many vulnerable young people and their families.

"If this was just about me, I'd have no problem letting the secrets out because they've been with me so long, it would be like a relief," he said. "But there are a lot of kids out there who rely on me and trust me. I worry about the damage this will cause."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Had him as a baseball coach at Blessed Sacrament and Barry Jr High my father told me to never be alone with him -creepy to say the least