Now-deceased priest accused in lawsuit of allegedly raping boy at sister's wedding

CT Post
Dan Tepfer
January 25, 2021

BRIDGEPORT — A former Roman Catholic priest allegedly raped a 9-year-old altar boy on the day the priest was to officiate at the wedding of the boy’s older sister, according to a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court here, claims the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport knew or should have known the Rev. Kiernan Ahearn was unfit to be around children but continued to assign him duties that involved children.

“Unfortunately, we continue to witness the carnage of the Catholic Church's decades-long tolerance of pedophiles in its ranks. This particular criminal, Ahearn, was circulated through the Bridgeport Diocese and others in New York — attacking children all along the way. Hopefully someday this disgusting behavior will end,” said attorney Joel Faxon, who represents the plaintiff in the lawsuit, a former Bethel man.

Ahearn served as a priest in churches in New York, New Hampshire, and Fairfield County.

From 1991 to 1993 he served as parochial vicar at St. Mary Church in Bethel.

In 1993 Ahearn was arrested and convicted in Massachusetts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he was found in a motel with a 16-year-old boy. He was sentenced to two years of probation.

The Bridgeport diocese subsequently removed him from the ministry. He died in 1997. The diocese later posted his name on its list of “credibly accused” priests.

According to the lawsuit, Ahearn repeatedly sexually assaulted the former altar boy at St. Mary’s Church beginning when he was 7 until he was 10 years old.

“During one particularly egregious act of sexual assault Fr. Ahearn raped the plaintiff on the day of the wedding ceremony of plaintiff’s sister, over which Ahearn presided within the confines of the church buildings at St. Mary parish,” the lawsuit states. A copy of the marriage license included with the lawsuit states the wedding occurred in November 1992.

As a result of the abuse, the suit states, the plaintiff suffered severe and permanent emotional distress and will continue to incur expenses for psychological treatment and therapy.