The Diocese of Norwich, a Catholic church in Groton and a Vermont-based order of priests have agreed to pay a $900,000 settlement to a New London man who says a priest molested him when he was an altar boy at the church in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Plaintiff Andrew Aspinwall says he was molested by Father Charles Many, who was assigned to the Sacred Heart Church in Groton by the Society of St. Edmund. The church is within the Diocese of Norwich.
Many was removed from parish service in 1986, according to a news release from Kelly Reardon of the Reardon Law Firm, which represented Aspinwall.
Reardon was able to obtain documents from the Society of St. Edmund’s archives showing that church officials knew as early as 1976—two years before he was assigned to Sacred Heart—that Many was “receiving boys in his room.”
In an interview, Reardon said Aspinwall’s decision to make his name public in the case was both “brave” and unusual for an abuse victim, but that he did so after much thought to encourage other potential victims to come forward.
“He thought it was important for people not to hide after something horrible like this has happened to them,” Reardon said.
Aspinwall filed suit in 2015 alleging nine counts against the defendants, which also included Bishop Daniel Reilly, accusing them of negligence, reckless and wanton conduct, conspiracy to commit fraud and other claims.
Reardon said her firm has handled at least 20 cases involving victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members.
Bradford Babbitt of Robinson & Cole appeared for the diocese and Philip Newbury Jr. of Howd & Ludorf appeared for the Society of St. Edmund. They could not be reached for comment.