U.S. priest: Bishop wanted to send me to the nuts

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NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – A former priest claims a bishop who played a leading national role in responding to the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal threatened to send him to live with nuns after he hired a private investigator to look into his pastor

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – A former priest claims a bishop who played a leading national role in responding to the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal threatened to send him to live with nuns after he hired a private investigator to look into his pastor.

The pastor, the Rev. Michael Jude Fay, later pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge and was sentenced to three years in prison for stealing more than $1 million from St. John Roman Catholic Church in Darien to support a luxurious lifestyle.

The priest who hired the investigator the year before, the Rev. Michael Madden, made the claim about the threat of being sent to live with nuns in a deposition for a lawsuit by the church’s bookkeeper, who says she was harassed and threatened for exposing Fay’s embezzlement.

Madden was asked in the deposition in June for bookkeeper Bethany D’Erario’s lawsuit if church officials told him they were going to send him to a nunnery.

“Nunnery is probably not the word, but, yes, the bishop was going to pull me out of the parish that day just as I thought and send me to live with nuns,” Madden said, according to the deposition, which was filed Monday in Waterbury Superior Court.

Asked if that was a punishment, Madden said, “It certainly was.”

An attorney for the church on Monday denied that Bishop William Lori had threatened to punish Madden like that.

“At no time did Bishop Lori ever threaten to send Mr. Madden to live with nuns,” attorney Daniel Schwartz said. “That is not an accurate description of their conversation.”

D’Erario’s attorney, Mark Sherman, said Monday he plans to call Lori, who served on a national committee to respond to the sexual abuse crisis that rocked the Catholic Church beginning in 2002, as a witness. He said the church had treated Fay better than it treated his client and Madden, who quit the priesthood.

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