A former Uxbridge priest accused of fondling a 16-year-old boy 30 years ago was found responsible for reckless conduct but let off the hook for other charges by a Worcester Superior civil court jury yesterday.
No monetary damages were awarded in the case.
The Rev. Thomas Teczar, 60, was accused of having sexual contact with then-parishioner David Lewcon at St. Mary’s Church in Uxbridge in 1971, where Teczar was the priest.
“I feel like I accomplished what I wanted,” Lewcon, 48, said yesterday after the verdict was read. “I’m the first one to bat and there’s going to be more stories coming down the pike … Granted, I’m only human to think I should be awarded some damages.”
He also acknowledged that he settled a suit with the Worcester Diocese concerning the abuse three years ago, but would not disclose how much money he was awarded.
After nearly three weeks of trial, the 12-man jury found Teczar, of Dudley, committed reckless infliction of emotional distress and caused Lewcon to suffer as a result of reckless conduct.
But attorneys were confused with other findings. The jury found Teczar did “not intend” to cause Lewcon emotional distress and that Teczar’s reckless conduct was not a “substantial factor” in causing Lewcon harm.
“I have to say this just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Lewcon’s attorney Laurence Hardoon. “I don’t know how they interpreted it.”
Lewcon said he recalled the abuse in 1993, after watching a television program about sexual abuse charges against another former St. Mary’s priest, the Rev. Thomas A. Kane.
Lewcon’s case, filed in 1996, received widespread attention for being the first case to go to trial since the recent outbreak of sexual abuse claims against Catholic priests.
For the most part, Hardoon said he was uncertain how the case will impact other sexual abuse cases. Jurors accepted the victim’s claim to have repressed the abuse until 1993.
Hardoon interpreted that to mean the jury “clearly rejected the statute of limitations.”
Teczar’s attorney, Michael Wilcox, was content with the decision.
“We’re satisfied with it and we think the jury was very conscientious in deciding the case,” Wilcox said. “(It was a) difficult case with difficult core issues for people.”
During the trial, Louis Aloise, Teczar’s co-counsel, questioned why it took so long for Lewcon to come forward and also whether he consented to the relationship, since he was 16 years old at the time.