| Suit against
Auxiliary Bishop Rueger dropped
Man filed charge of rape in 2002
by Richard Nangle - T&G STAFF
November 21, 2003
The Shrewsbury man who sued Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger
on a rape
charge has withdrawn his case in Worcester Superior Court.
Sime M. Braio filed suit against Bishop Rueger in July 2002.
The Diocese of Worcester responded to the suit with a strong
denial and Bishop Rueger has remained in his post. Mr. Braio
filed his motion on Wednesday and Judge Tina S. Page granted
In the brief, handwritten motion, Mr. Braio said, "I
am doing this willfully and voluntarily. No threats have been
made against me. Trooper Tom Greene of Auburn told me to do
this." Trooper Greene heads District Attorney John J.
Conte's investigative unit. Calls to Trooper Greene were not
returned last night.
Yesterday, Mr. Braio's former lawyer, Daniel J. Shea of Houston,
accused state police of coercing his client into a dismissal.
"There's going to be a tort claims act filed against
the Massachusetts State Police for tortiously interfering
with my relationship with Sime Braio," said Mr. Shea,
who was fired by Mr. Braio in August.
Mr. Conte, however, dismissed Mr. Shea's accusation as false
and said the trooper would have been in contact with Mr. Braio
because Mr. Braio is a victim whose allegations are being
investigated by his office.
"Tom Greene told Sime Braio, in furtherance of his motion
to dismiss without prejudice, that he could tell the judge
that the state police had not completed their investigation,"
Mr. Conte said.
He could not say under what circumstances the trooper and
Mr. Braio's conversation about the civil case may have come
"Sime is the victim," he said. "We talk to
Mr. Braio also withdrew slander charges against Monsignor
Thomas Sullivan and Assistant District Attorney James J. Reagon,
even though he had already dismissed the charges against Mr.
Reagon in July.
Mr. Braio had filed a defamation suit against Monsignor Sullivan,
the diocesan chancellor and liaison to the district attorney's
office. Mr. Braio alleged that Monsignor Sullivan spread misinformation
within the diocese that Mr. Braio had HIV. Mr. Braio later
sought an HIV test, which came back negative, a result that
he made public. He had alleged that Mr. Reagon told Monsignor
Sullivan that Mr. Braio was HIV positive.
Monsignor Sullivan said in pretrial testimony that Mr. Reagon
provided him with that information. Mr. Reagon denied making
Mr. Braio's lawsuit alleged that Bishop Rueger, then a parish
priest, began sexually molesting him in the early 1960s when
he was 13. The suit alleged the abuse resulted in behavior
that landed Mr. Braio, now 53, in the former Lyman School
for Boys in Westboro.
The diocese kept Bishop Rueger in his post even as it removed
several priests who also had been charged with sexual abuse
during the past two years.
In September, Mr. Shea withdrew from the case while charging
that Mr. Braio was being coerced into a secret settlement.
Mr. Shea filed for intervention in the case and a hearing
is scheduled for Dec. 3 in Superior Court.
Mr. Braio had named the Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester,
a corporation, in the suit, but the corporation was dismissed
as a defendant by Superior Court Judge Leila R. Kern on the
same day Mr. Shea withdrew from the case.
In a statement released by the diocese yesterday, Bishop
Rueger said, "I am deeply grateful to Bishop (Daniel
P.) Reilly for his wonderful words and his enduring support
during this difficult time. I am grateful to my brother priests,
my sisters in religious life and all the wonderful lay people
whose prayers and kinds words have sustained me. May all of
us continue to heal our church and one another."
Also in a statement, Bishop Reilly said, "This ordeal
will not diminish our ongoing diocesan program to reach out
to those who have been abused and are seeking healing."
Bishop Reilly sent a letter to diocesan parishes saying he
was, "very grateful for your prayers and support for
Bishop Rueger, and for the encouragement given to him by thousands
of people throughout the diocese and beyond."
Diocesan lawyer James G. Reardon said he had no plans to
file any countercharges against Mr. Braio. Monsignor Sullivan
had accused Mr. Braio of extortion, saying he threatened to
file suit against Bishop Rueger unless he was paid a sum of
money by the diocese.
"I'm glad the case is gone," Mr. Reardon said.
"It was a very difficult thing to have to endure. Bishop
Rueger is very relieved and pleased that he's been exonerated."
Mr. Reardon said the timing of the dismissal caught him by
"The diocese never paid any money on either claim, which
I think is appropriate," he said.
Mr. Shea, however, said he believes the case is anything
"As of July of this year, Sime Braio had already dismissed
without prejudice the case against James Reagon and he told
me he did so under coercion from a state trooper," Mr.
"He's now admitting that he's being told what to do
by state Trooper Tom Greene. I'm going to be demanding some
answers from the state of Massachusetts on why a state trooper
is practicing law without a license. I've never seen anything
like this in my life. Thank God it's in writing."
In an interview last night, Mr. Conte called Mr. Shea's allegations
He said his office's investigation into Mr. Braio's allegations
against Bishop Rueger is ongoing, but he expects it to be
"Hopefully, it's going to be completed very shortly,"
he said. "There are some loose ends, but up to now, the
allegations have not been corroborated. (Mr. Braio) asked
us to look into certain things and that is what we are doing."
Richard Nangle can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.