Diocese sacks janitor, 76, over sex abuse claimsBy DANIEL TEPFER firstname.lastname@example.org BRIDGEPORT
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport last month fired a janitor at St. Theresa's parish in Trumbull who had been accused of sexually assaulting a boy in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In response to an inquiry from the Connecticut Post, Diocese spokesman Joseph McAleer acknowledged Friday that Carlo Fabbozzi, who worked as a night janitor and landscaper at the church, was fired after officials received the abuse complaint from a 43-year-old Florida man.
Michael Powel told the Post that Fabbozzi sexually assaulted him on numerous occasions in a garage next to the Trumbull church and at Powel's house.
Reached at his Bridgeport home, Fabbozzi, 76, denied the allegations.
"This guy is fabricating this. I had nothing to do with him, I was busy working all the time, I didn't have time to do what he said I did, he said.
McAleer stressed that the alleged abuse of Powel actually occurred before Fabbozzi worked at St. Theresa's parish. But Fabbozzi has been banned from working again for the diocese, he said.
In addition, McAleer said the diocese has reported Powel's claim to the state Department of Children and Families and it will hold a meeting Wednesday between the Catholic Charities Emergency Response Team and parishioners at the church.
Powel, who said he is dying of brain cancer, decided to go public with his allegation.
"For me it's just a matter of time. I'd like to have some peace before I go, he said. "I wake up every night with a nightmare about what he did to me.
After the diocese fired Fabbozzi based on Powel's April complaint, Powel and his lawyer, Helen McGonigle, of Newtown, met with Bishop William Lori and the diocese's lawyer, Michael Dolan, on May 15 at the Catholic Center.
"I laid it all out to him, Powel said. He said the assaults began when he was 9 and a Boy Scout with a troop based at the church. He said Fabbozzi was a scoutmaster.
During the meeting, Dolan acknowledged that Powel appeared credible, McGonigle said. "The question in his mind was how was the church responsible, she said.
McGonigle said she questions the diocese's timetable as to when Fabbozzi was working at the church.
"They are saying if he was doing this in the late 1960s, he wasn't working for us, but they have given me no evidence of when he was working [there].
McAleer said in 1971, several parishes contracted Fabbozzi to mow their lawns and do general maintenance work. From 1981 to 1986, he was St. Theresa's general maintenance worker.
In 1986 he left to pursue other work. In 1997, he was hired as St. Theresa's night janitor.
"The Diocese of Bridgeport will cooperate fully with authorities in any investigation involving Mr. Fabbozzi, he said.
Daniel Tepfer, who covers state courts and law enforcement issues, can be reached at 330-6308