Settlement reached in civil trial of former Springfield bishops
Published: August 8, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CNS) -- A Massachusetts man who was abused in the 1980s by Alfred F. Graves, a former priest of the Springfield Diocese, agreed to a $500,000 settlement with retired Springfield Bishops Joseph F. Maguire and Thomas L. Dupre July 27. The agreement, worked out late July 26, ended a dramatic civil trial that featured emotional testimony by the abuse victim, Andrew Nicastro, now 41, his family members and two priests who testified to the harm caused by Graves from 1982 to 1985. Nicastro, of Williamstown, alleged the bishops had been negligent during their respective tenures as head of the diocese by returning the former priest to ministry with insufficient supervision knowing he had a history of abusing boys. He filed suit in 2009. Bishop Maguire, now 92, was named coadjutor for Springfield in 1976, was installed in 1977 and retired in 1991. His successor, Bishop John A. Marshall, died in 1994. Bishop Dupre, now 78, was appointed to succeed him and was installed in 1995. Citing health reasons, he resigned in 2004. "The testimony was compelling," said John Stobierski, Nicastro's principal attorney. At a media briefing on the courthouse steps after the trial, Stobierski said that while he was confident his client was winning his case, he decided to settle because the court process still could have taken years. Bishop Maguire said he hoped the settlement "will bring some measure of healing" to Nicastro and his family, who "have suffered greatly." "Since I was called to serve the people of the Diocese of Springfield, I have strived to be a faithful and caring bishop," he said in a prepared statement released after the trial. "That in this instance I was unable to protect young people from abuse is an enduring and deep regret." Bishop Maguire added, "I ask the good people of western Massachusetts to join me in offering prayers for Mr. Nicastro and all victims of abuse. May they know God's love and compassion in their healing."
Copyright (c) Catholic News Service /U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service .