Bishop Names Five Accused of Misconduct

Associated Press/April 22, 2002

Bridgeport, Conn. -- Calling for a new beginning in the Bridgeport Diocese, Bishop William E. Lori went public today with the names of five priests removed from the ministry after they were accused of sexual misconduct that occurred decades ago.

Three priests left on Bishop Lori's watch, and the other two were dismissed five years ago by his predecessor, Edward M. Egan, now cardinal of the Archdiocese of New York.

The bishop was responding to a growing national scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, which has been accused of covering up sexual misconduct by priests and moving some abusers from job to job.

Bishop Lori held a news conference hours after parishioners were told the details at churches where the priests who left had served.

The most recent to leave was Msgr. Gregory Smith, the Sacred Heart University religious studies director accused of sexually abusing girls nearly three decades ago.

Monsignor Smith, 60, had served at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Bridgeport since 1974. He was suspended in 1997 after he was named in a suit alleging abuse and was reinstated after a psychiatric evaluation. But after a review, Monsignor Smith resigned on Saturday, Bishop Lori said.

The Rev. Stanley N. Koziol, 69, was the assistant pastor of St. Mark in Stratford. He recently admitted having sex with a minor in the early 1960's and was dismissed in March.

The Rev. Vincent J. Veich, 57, co-pastor of St. Benedict/Our Lady of Montserrat in Stamford, was accused of having sex with a teenage girl in the late 1970's. Father Veich was defrocked earlier this month.

Bishop Egan presided over the 1997 dismissals of the Rev. Joseph Moore and Msgr. Charles Stubbs. Bishop Lori admitted the diocese did nothing when allegations against Father Moore first surfaced in the 1970's. He said Bishop Egan acted immediately when the claims were brought up again in 1997.

Monsignor Stubbs, former pastor at St. Mary in Greenwich, had been retired a year when he was defrocked in 1997.

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