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Massachusetts bishops settle lawsuit brought by abuse victim

July 27, 2012

Two former bishops of Springfield, Massachusetts, have settled a sex-abuse lawsuit, 3 days after the case came to trial.

Bishops Joseph Maguire and Thomas Dupre reportedly agreed to pay $500,000 to Andrew Nicastro, who said that he was molested in the 1970s by Alfred Graves, a priest of the Springfield diocese who has subsequently been laicized. Nicastro charged that both bishops were aware of previously sex-abuse charges against Graves, yet continued to give him parish assignments.

Bishop Maguire issued a statement through the Springfield diocese, saying: “Today’s settlement, I hope, will bring some measure of healing to Andrew Nicastro and his family.” He expressed regret for not having taken action earlier against Graves, saying that he did not understand “the true nature of one who violated our trust with such devastating harm to his victims.”

Bishop Dupre did not offer a comment. At a deposition 2 years ago, he had refused to answer questions from Nicastro’s lawyers, repeatedly invoking his 5th-amendment right to avoid self-incrimination in a 3-hour deposition.

Bishop Maguire, who is now approaching his 93rd birthday, resigned from his post at the Springfield diocese in 1991, at the age of 72. He was replaced by Bishop Dupre, who resigned suddenly and left Massachusetts in 2004 after being accused of molesting young men. A local prosecutor later reported that there was enough evidence to warrant the bishop’s prosecution, but the case was dropped because the statute of limitations had expired.


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