Seymour Priest Accused of Sex Abuse Placed on Leave
A suit filed on behalf of William Dotson by Stratton Faxon filed on July 9, 2010, asserts that the Reverend Stephen Bzdyra sexually molested an altar boy in the 1980s. The accused priest has been placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Hartford.
New Haven, CT (Law Firm Newswire) July 28, 2010 - - A suit filed by 34-year-old
William Dotson of Hartford, Connecticut, alleges that Dotson was sexually molested by the Reverend Stephen Bzdyra while he was an altar boy at St. Francis Church in New Haven, Connecticut, and Saint Hedwig Church in Naugatuck, Connecticut, between 1985 and 1990. The accused priest has been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation into the allegations,” said the Reverend John P. Gatzak, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Hartford.
Joel T. Faxon, the attorney representing Dotson, responded to Bzdyra being placed on leave, saying, “That’s an appropriate action on their part.” He later added, “What that will do is serve to protect the children of Connecticut from this man.”
Bzdyra has been serving at Saint Augustine Church in Seymour.
Faxon said that the case was “unusual” because it involves an active priest. “Most recent cases involve allegations against priests already removed,” Faxon said.
The lawsuit alleges Bzdyra whipped and raped Dotson, an altar boy, after catechism class when he was 10 and molested him repeatedly in the rectory and church where Bzdyra served at the time. It accuses the priest of paying hush money, such as buying Dotson a washer and dryer and a car, and threatening to report Dotson's mother to the welfare department for having too many jobs if he revealed the abuse, saying he would be taken away from his family.
Dotson turned to drugs and tried to kill himself as a result of the abuse, Faxon said. He has gone through therapy and is off drugs, his attorney said.
The Associated Press generally does not name victims of sexual assault, but Faxon said that Dotson wanted to come forward publicly with the allegations.
Dotson finally decided to come forward after the priest tried to befriend his son on Facebook, Faxon said.
The lawsuit, which seeks damages of more than $15,000, names Bzdyra and the archdiocese. It says church officials failed to prevent the abuse. Faxon said Dotson will likely file a criminal complaint against Bzdyra, but he's researching whether a statue of limitations has expired.
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