Accused priest list includes many new names

The list of priests the Diocese of Norwich released on Sunday includes the names of 17 who were not previously known as having been accused of sexually assaulting minors.

Among the 17 are two priests who served as principals at St. Bernard High School in Montville and a former Waterford priest who was charged with possession of child pornography but whose attorney had maintained had never been accused of inappropriately touching children.

As it had with all 43 priests on the list, the diocese has said it will not release details such as which parishes the priests served at, what they are accused of, the number of complaints filed against them and whether the diocese ever reported their action to police or the state Department of Children and Families as they have been required by state law to do since 1971. At least 10 of the 17 are dead.

The lack of details has prompted questions from lay people in the diocese, some of whom have been contacting The Day for details about the priests or to share information they have.

Robert W. Barnes, who was “removed from ministry in 2002" and died six years later, was appointed principal at St. Bernard in 1981, according to his obituary. It also states he was the pastor of several churches in the diocese, last serving at Our Lady of Grace on Fishers Island before retiring in 2002. Nothing is known about the allegations of substance against him.

More is known about Santino A. Casimano, who served as the interim principal at St. Bernard before resigning in 2004 after two men filed a lawsuit saying he sexually assaulted them as minors in New Mexico in 1983. He denied the allegations.

Casimano started working at St. Bernard in 1998, first as a volunteer adjunct faculty member, then head of the theology department and chaplain. He was the interim principal for six months before stepping down. He also had a weekend assignment at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Quaker Hill and was the Groton City police chaplain. The diocese said at the time he left St. Bernard that there were no allegations of abuse against Casimano when he was at the school. 

The child pornography charge against Dennis G. Carey, who resigned from St. Paul in Chains Church in Waterford in 2012, came after police seized computers containing hundreds of images of child pornography from the rectory where he lived. He was facing a mandatory five years in prison when he died in 2013. The diocese, which removed him from ministry in 2012, had never revealed before Sunday that there were also substantive allegations of sexual assault against him. The details of those allegations are unknown.

Roger M. Comtois, who the diocese says was removed from ministry in 1988 and died 10 years later, served for a time at St. Patrick Church in Mystic. The details of the allegations against him are unknown.

According to his obituary, Edward F. Frigault served at parishes in Baltic and Willimantic between 1973 and 1997. He was removed from ministry in 2002 and died six years later.

A Catholic publication of the time shows Denis Galipeau as the director of St. John’s School in Plainfield in 1964. He was removed from ministry that year but later joined the archdiocese of Montreal.

Roman S. Gromala, who left diocesan ministry in 1955, was working four years later at churches in Florida, according to church publications of the time.

Information could not be found about John A. Kozon, who was removed from ministry in 2005 and died in 2013 in Memphis, Tenn., or Joseph P. Murphy, who was removed from ministry in 1998 and died in 2015.

R. Thomas McConaghy, who was removed from ministry in 2005, served at St. Andrew Church in Colchester from 1981 to 1983, St. Patrick Cathedral in Norwich from 1983 to 1985, St. Michael Church in Pawcatuck from 1990 to 1991, Sacred Heart Church in Norwich and St. John Mission Church from 1998 to 2005.

It appears from a media report that John C. Nash, who was removed from ministry in 2002 and was petitioned for removal from the clerical state, served at St. Thomas More Church in North Stonington in 1998.

According to his 2002 obituary, J. Lawrence Ouimet served at various parishes in the diocese with his last assignment in Coventry. He also served as chaplain for the Groton Town Police department and the New London County and state fire chiefs’ association. He was removed from ministry in 1999.

Louis Paturzo, who was a member of the Archdiocese of Hartford and served in the Norwich diocese, admitted to fondling two teens in the 1970s and was dismissed from the clerical state in 2008. The nature of the allegations against him in the Norwich diocese are unknown.

Richard Cardarelli, a member of the Capuchin Fathers order who served in the Norwich diocese, was well known for championing the rights of homosexuals in the church. He was dismissed from the clerical state in 1994. The details of the substantive allegations against him in the Norwich diocese are unknown.

Robert L. Pelkington, a Dominican priest, who was dismissed from the clerical state in 2011 and died in 2015, pleaded guilty in 2000 to risk of injury to a minor and received a three-year suspended prison sentence and ordered to register as a sexual offender for molesting two brothers in Southington between 1998-99. The allegations against him in the Norwich diocese are unknown.

Thomas Pascal, who was reassigned by the Order of St. Benedict in 1993, died in 2015. A native of India, the allegations against him are unknown.

The list also includes the names of a dozen priests who served in the diocese but who had allegations against them in other dioceses. All but one are deceased.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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