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Priests Admonished In Abuse Case

Sep 1, 2002 | AP

Two priests have been disciplined for not telling the Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocese that they knew the location of a former clergyman who had been accused of sexual abuse.

The Revs. David Howell of Norwalk and Gerald Devore of Stamford admitted to diocesan officials that they knew former priest Laurence Brett was living on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, the diocese said in a statement issued Saturday.

Brett, 65, has been accused of abusing two dozen altar boys and other children in Connecticut, New Mexico, California and Maryland. He disappeared in 1993 and was discovered recently on St. Maarten by reporters from The Hartford Courant.

After Brett vanished, church officials said they wanted him found and brought to justice.

Connecticut has declined to prosecute several abuse cases involving priests, saying the statute of limitations had expired. Allegations against Brett date back to the 1960s. The diocese will tell the other states Brett has been located, spokesman Joseph McAleer said.

Bridgeport Bishop William Lori imposed a public penance on Howell and Devore, meaning they will be sent to live in a religious house for an undetermined amount of time for serious prayer, acts of penance and reflection on their responsibilities as priests.

Lori said they violated the diocese's sexual misconduct policy and its mandated reporting of information that could protect children.

Howell, 60, and Devore, 65, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

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