Settlement reached in civil trial of retired Mass. bishops

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- A Massachusetts man who was abused in the 1980s by Alfred F. Graves, a former priest of the Springfield Diocese, agreed to a $500,000 settlement with retired Springfield Bishops Joseph F. Maguire and Thomas L. Dupre July 27.

The agreement, worked out late July 26, ended a dramatic civil trial that featured emotional testimony by the abuse victim, Andrew Nicastro, now 41, his family members and two priests who testified to the harm caused by Graves from 1982 to 1985.

Nicastro, of Williamstown, alleged the bishops had been negligent during their respective tenures as head of the diocese by returning the former priest to ministry with insufficient supervision knowing he had a history of abusing boys. He filed suit in 2009.

Bishop Maguire, now 92, was named coadjutor for Springfield in 1976, was installed in 1977 and retired in 1991. His successor, Bishop John A. Marshall, died in 1994. Bishop Dupre, now 78, was appointed to succeed him and was installed in 1995. Citing health reasons, he resigned in 2004.

"The testimony was compelling," John Stobierski, Nicastro's principal attorney, said after the trial.