Priest abuse victim picketing Catholic churches
Mystic — Tim McGuire of New London, who alleges that a Noank priest sexually assaulted him when he was an 8-year-old altar boy in the 1960s, has begun protesting in front of Catholic churches in the Diocese of Norwich.
On Wednesday morning, clad in shorts, T-shirt, flip-flops, sunglasses and a baseball cap, a sweating McGuire walked back and forth along a sunbaked sidewalk in front of St. Patrick Church in downtown Mystic for three hours.
Hundreds and hundreds of people, some of whom were stuck in traffic waiting for the drawbridge to close or arriving for 12:05 p.m. Mass, saw his signs. Some gave him a thumbs-up, a few pulled over to express support and a few yelled criticisms, accusing him of just wanting a big payout.
Most just slowed down and read his handmade signs, which read: "WE ARE NOT SECRET FILES," "WHEN YOU PRAY FOR VICTIMS. BISHOP COTE ABUSES THEM. ASK ME. I'M ONE." and "NORWICH DIOCESE. HUNDREDS OF MOLESTATIONS. DOZENS OF VICTIMS. NO CONVICTIONS. PRETTY SLICK."
"THERE ARE 37 OF US TODAY AND COUNTING," read another, referring to the number of people who have publicly alleged they were abused by diocesan priests. Accused priests were not reported to authorities by former diocesan Bishop Daniel Reilly and often were transferred to new parishes, where they sometimes assaulted more children.
"I'm disgusted not so much by their actions but by their inaction," McGuire said.
Current Bishop Michael Cote has stressed that the diocese has taken numerous steps to prevent abuse and report any incidents that it becomes aware of but has said he has no authority to report the inaction of Reilly to the pope.
A diocesan spokesman did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.
"I'm out here to start a conversation. If I'm misinformed, let's talk," McGuire said Wednesday.
McGuire, who considers himself a Catholic with no church to go to, says he is especially stung when people, such as two St. Patrick parishioners who confronted him on Wednesday, accuse him of just wanting a big settlement.
One elderly woman walking into Mass just before noon Wednesday yelled out to McGuire, "What are you doing that for? All you want is money!"
"I'll donate any money I receive to charity," McGuire responded.
"You just cause stress and trouble. You don't bring peace," the woman shouted b...