Father Laurence Brett
Diocese of Sacramento/Diocese of Bridgeport
- 1962-1964: St. Cecilia (Springdale, CT)
- 1964-1964: Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT)
- 1964-1965: Leave of Absence
- 1965-1965: Assigned to the Sacramento Diocese (Sacramento, CA)
- 1965-1967: Leave of Absence
- 1967-1973: St. Jane Frances de Chantal (Pasadena, MD)
- 1967-1973: St. Patrick’s (Cumberland, MD)
- 1972-1974: Calvert Hall College High School (Baltimore, MD)
- 1976-1976: School Sisters of Notre Dame Mother House (Baltimore, MD)
- 1977-1995: Leave of Absence
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Laurence Brett:
Beginning with a lawsuit in 1993 that claims Fr. Laurence Brett abused a teenage altar boy from 1961-1963, the Diocese of Bridgeport received multiple complaints thereafter. He was also accused of abusing a 19-year-old student at Sacred Heart University. Another report named him as one of 71 priests in the Bridgeport Diocese accused of sexually abusing minors since the Diocese’s founding in 1962. The Bridgeport review board found the allegations to be credible and found that Brett had perpetrated abuse against 23 victims, ranging in age from 10 to 18 over his tenure.
According to the Hartford Courant, Church leaders in Bridgeport, Connecticut, knew about allegations against Brett in the 1960s. In fact, Church officials wrote in a memo that if any parishioners asked about Brett’s sudden absence, “hepatitis” was to be fabricated as a cover. Brett was finally ordered to leave the Diocese of Bridgeport after being confronted about the incident with the Sacred Heart University student. He was then transferred to the Dioceses of Sacramento, Santa Fe, and Baltimore, but was permitted to continue as a priest under the auspices of the Bridgeport Diocese, first under Bishop Walter Curtis and later under Bishop Edward Egan. After numerous leaves of absence, Brett then went on to teach at Calvert Hall College in Maryland from 1969 to 1973, where more than a dozen students eventually accused him of sexual abuse.
Brett went on to become a chaplain of the School Sisters of Notre Dame Motherhouse in Baltimore County starting in 1976. He then worked as a religious publisher in Washington, DC, according to the Baltimore Archdiocese. Lori, then the Bishop of Bridgeport, finally removed Brett from the priesthood in the early 2000s.
The case of this notorious Baltimore-area Catholic priest is cited in a recent report as a critical example of how church officials shuffled clergy accused of sexual abuse, leaving more children at risk. An insurance company paid a $250,000 settlement in 1994 to the two victims Brett molested after he transferred to Sacramento, CA. Accused of sexually abusing boys in New Mexico, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington DC, Catholic leaders have paid more than $2.7 million in settlements to people who accused Brett of abuse — representing 5% of all its abuse payouts, according to a recent report.
Brett was included on the Archdiocese of Santa Fe list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. He’s also included on the Archdiocese of Baltimore list and the Diocese of Sacramento list.
Brett fled to the island of Martinique in the Caribbean in 1993. He was living under an alias and died on Dec. 25, 2010, at the age of 73, after years on the run from law enforcement.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Sacramento in California. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Sacramento now have legal options due to a temporary change in the law, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help.
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