Williamstown Man Sues Former Bishops Over Sex Abuse

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A local restaurateur who claims he was molested by a priest has filed a civil suit against two former bishops and a former administrator of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, according to Masslive.com.

Andrew Nicastro, 38, of Williamstown, owner of Isabella's Restaurant and chef/manager of the Richmond Grille, both in North Adams, claims the three leaders in the diocese allowed an admitted child molester to be assigned to St. Patrick's Church in Williamstown.

The diocese has not been named in the suit. A statement e-mailed to the press from Mark E. Dupont, diocese spokesman, said the "diocese has only just learned of this civil complaint and it would be imprudent, therefore, to comment on the specifics of this matter prior to a thorough review of the claim and evidence to support it."

Nicastro and his attorney, John J. Stobierski of Greenfield, held a press conference this morning on the steps of the Hampden County Courthouse, where the complaint was filed.

They say Alfred Graves, who was defrocked by the Vatican in 2006, sexually molested Nicastro between 1982 and 1984 when he was 11 to 13 years old.

Graves was among 18 priests named in a $7.5 million settlement against the diocese in 2004. In that case, Stobierski was representing 45 people who claimed to have been abused by priests in the Springfield Diocese.

Stobierski told MassLive that this case was different in that there was evidence the diocesan leaders were aware that Graves had abused boys before assigning him to St. Patrick's.

Named in the suit are the Most Rev. Joseph F. Maguire, bishop of the diocese at the time of the allegations, the Most Rev. Thomas L. Dupre, who was then chancellor, and Richard S. Sniezyk, who had a supervisory role over Graves.

Dupre was indicted on molestation charges that were later dropped because the statute of limitations had passed. He had succeeded the now 90-year-old Maguire in 1992 and resigned in 2004 after being indicted.

The diocese has paid out some $12 million in two settlements to claimants of sexual abuse since 2004.
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