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Priest resigns as pastor of Fairfield parish
| April 29, 2002
Posted in Local News

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BRIDGEPORT, Monday, April 29, 2002, 12 p.m.

The Most Reverend William E. Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport, announced today that a priest has submitted his resignation as Pastor and, accordingly, has had his authorization to function as a priest withdrawn.


The priest, who resigned on Saturday, April 27, is:

Father William D. Donovan, Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Fairfield. Father Donovan, who has been convicted three times for driving while under the influence of alcohol, appeared in court this morning and was sentenced to a mandatory 150 days as a subsequent D.U.I. offender. Acknowledging the abuse of alcohol as a contributing factor, Father Donovan has also admitted a sexual relationship with a young man. Whether the man was a minor at the time of the misconduct is unclear. Ordained to the priesthood in 1961, Father Donovan, 66, has been assigned to Holy Family Parish since 1989.

In line with the Sexual Misconduct Policy of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Father Donovan is also required to be sent for psychiatric evaluation and treatment, which will take place after he completes his sentence.

Bishop Lori was present at the 5:00 p.m. Sunday Mass yesterday at Holy Family Parish to make the announcement on Father Donovan. Information was distributed on counseling and support services that are available through Catholic Family Services, a division of Catholic Charities of Fairfield County. Follow-up informational meetings will be scheduled at the parish.

Effective immediately, Father Eugene R. Szantyr, Assistant Pastor of Holy Family Parish, will act as temporary administrator of the parish until a new Pastor is appointed.

The allegation of sexual misconduct was brought to the attention of the Diocese of Bridgeport on Thursday afternoon, April 25, when Monsignor Laurence R. Bronkiewicz, Chancellor, and Michael T. Dolan, Diocesan General Counsel, met with the victim and his stepfather. On Friday morning, April 26, Mr. Dolan informed Mr. Neil Kelly, Assistant State's Attorney of the Fairfield Judicial District, of the allegation of sexual misconduct involving Father Donovan.

With the help of the Sexual Misconduct Review Board, the Diocese of Bridgeport is currently investigating a small number of new complaints. Each complaint involves alleged misconduct which took place in the 1980s or earlier. Based upon conversations which the Diocese of Bridgeport has had with the State's Attorney's Office, complaints for which a report is expected will be submitted to the State's Attorney.

"It is our hope that a new spirit of openness and vigilance may help victims of sexual misconduct and their families find the courage to come forward," said Bishop Lori. "We remain committed to meeting with any victim and to dealing with all allegations, in tandem with the Review Board, swiftly, decisively, and fairly."

Father William D. Donovan

Born: 1935, Seymour, CT
Ordained: 1961, Bridgeport

Assignments:

Priest in Residence
1961-1966, Saint John Parish, Darien
1966-1973, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich

Assistant Pastor
1973-1982, Saint Thomas More Parish, Darien
1982-1983, Saint Rose of Lima Parish, Newtown
1983-1989, Saint Leo Parish, Stamford

Pastor
1989-2002, Holy Family Parish, Fairfield