CONNECTICUT DIOCESE SETTLES SEX ABUSE LAWSUIT
A lawsuit brought by a former altar boy who alleged he was sexually abused by a priest more than 35 years ago was settled, said the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport on Tuesday. The settlement was filed in New Haven Superior Court on March 21st, but was not made public until this week. This ends the highest profile case of abuse by a priest in Connecticut and one that previously resulted in a $1 million verdict against the diocese. Former altar boy Frank Martinelli filed his lawsuit in 1993 charging that when he was an altar boy at St. Cecilia Church in Stamford, Connecticut, he was sexually abused by Reverend Lawrence Brett on three occasions between 1962 and 1964. Testifying during his 1997 trial, Martinelli, 52, said that he repressed his memory of the abuse until 1991 when he spoke to an old friend who said Brett also abused him as a child. His whereabouts unknown right now, Brett is being sought by the FBI for the alleged sexual assault of children in Baltimore, said Jennifer Laviano, Martinelli's lawyer. Martinelli was awarded $750,000 in damages in August 1997 from a federal jury in New Haven. US District Judge Janet Bond-Arterton added $250,000 in punitive damages. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned the verdict in November 1999 saying the judge's original instructions to the jury were faulty.