A Roman Catholic priest picked up by Westport police in 1968 for allegedly molesting a boy in his car has agreed to leave the priesthood, according to today’s Connecticut Post.
The newspaper said Martin J. Federici, suspended in 1996 after lawsuits naming him were filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, was in clerical terminology “voluntarily laicized,” according to a diocese spokesman.
The newspaper said Federici was accused of sexually molesting boys in the 1970s, ‘80s and early ‘90s.
According to a Bridgeport law firm involved in legal actions against accused priests, he is one of seven priests who have served in Westport churches from 1964 to 1990 who have been sued, suspended following allegations of sexual abuse of minors, or have claims against them.
The report gave few details about the Westport incident, but indicated the priest was at the time assigned to a Westport church.
Other sources identified the church as Westport’s Assumption Church and said Federici was assigned there from 1968 to 1970.
According to sealed documents obtained by the Connecticut Post, Federici in 1968 was picked up by Westport police for allegedly molesting a boy in his car. Police didn’t arrest him, but reported the incident to the diocese, the newspaper said.
It added: “In 1971, after Federici was moved to St. Ambrose Church in Bridgeport, he was accused of molesting another boy. The boy’s parents complained about Federici to the pastor, according to the documents.”
The Post reported that Federici is one of 20 priests in the diocese suspended after allegations were made that they had molested children. But he is the first to voluntarily give up the priesthood.
An Internet discussion board for those abused by priests includes a posting last month from someone identifying himself as a former member of Westport’s Assumption Church.
“As a victim of priest sexual abuse, I am researching the possibility of starting the first Connecticut SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) chapter in Westport,” the poster writes.
“My family were members of the Westport Assumption Parish at the time of my victimization.”