$500K settlement in Mass. clergy abuse lawsuit

Associated Press/July 27, 2012

Springfield, Massachusetts -- A Massachusetts man has reached a $500,000 settlement with two former Springfield Roman Catholic bishops he said failed to stop a known pedophile priest who molested him.

Andrew Nicastro of Williamstown and his attorneys announced the settlement Friday, ending a trial in which Nicastro and family members had testified.

Nicastro alleged in his lawsuit that Alfred Graves, then a priest, molested him in the early 1980s and that then-Bishop Joseph Maguire and his subordinate, Thomas Dupre, knew Graves had abused other boys in 1976. The suit did not name Graves as a defendant.

Graves, who has been named in other clergy abuse lawsuits, has been out of the ministry since 1994 and was defrocked by the Vatican in 2006. A phone number for Graves could not be found Friday evening.

The now-retired Maguire, 92, issued a statement through the Springfield Diocese that he is "truly sorry" for Nicastro's suffering and hopes the settlement brings some measure of healing for "terrible abuse."

"I only wish that in 1976 as a new bishop, I could have foreseen the true nature of one who violated our trust with such devastating harm to his victims," he said.

Dupre's attorney declined to comment.

Nicastro's lawyer John Stobierski said at a news conference outside Hampden Superior Court that the settlement was reached Thursday night. He and Nicastro said the lawsuit was about accountability, not money.

Nicastro, now 42, said he hoped the settlement sends a message to other abuse victims who suffer in silence that they can find the strength to come forward.

"If you have to find me, come find me, and I will come forward with you," he said. "I will help you."

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