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Vermont Group Part Of Connecticut Priest Abuse Settlement

A Vermont-based religious order is among several Roman Catholic groups that agreed to a $900,000 settlement in an alleged priest sex-abuse case in Connecticut dating to the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Society of St. Edmund and several Roman Catholic entities in Connecticut recently agreed to split the settlement paid to 50-year-old Andrew Aspinwall, of New London.

The Burlington Free Press reports Aspinwall, who agreed to be identified publicly, alleged he was abused by now-defrocked priest Charles Many, a Vermont native and member of the society, while he was serving as an altar boy at Sacred Heart Church in Groton.

The settlement, reached last month ahead of a trial scheduled for this month, contained no admission of wrongdoing. Aspinwall's attorney, Kelly Reardon, says Many vehemently denied any impropriety. The case was withdrawn Wednesday.

"He has struggled throughout his life with periods of depression, with a lot of anxiety surrounding things that might seem unusual for a man, like fear of the dark, fear of unknown people, fear of loud noises," Reardon said of her client.

Attorneys for the society and the Connecticut church didn't respond to requests for comment Friday. A telephone number for Many was unavailable.

A news release distributed by Reardon said Many was removed from parish service in 1986 and later left the priesthood.

Court records show the defendants in the case were the Society of St. Edmund, the Diocese of Norwich, its former bishop, Sacred Heart Church and Many, court records show. As part of the settlement Many was removed as a defendant and Aspinwall dropped the lawsuit.

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