HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A priest that served in Waterbury, Torrington and Hamden in the last five years is now the center of a sexual assault lawsuit.
“When we see a priest or anybody working for the diocese transferred quickly over a short period of time that’s concerning and that’s a red flag for us,” said Mike McDonnell with the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests. “Out of sight, out of mind. Let the dust settle.”
Reverend Mauricio Galvis joined Saint John Paul Roman Catholic Church in Torrington in 2019. A year later, the alleged victim says she developed trust, respect and reliance for the Reverend, which then led to manipulation and various sexual acts without her consent.
The alleged incident happened in Torrington in September 2020.
According to court documents the victim allegedly continues to suffer from physical injuries and emotional distress.
News 8 did reach out to both the plaintiff and the defendant’s attorneys for comment but did not hear back.
According to court documents, Galvis is contesting the allegations.
“People are often looking for spiritual guidance some type of nourishment spiritually for themselves and often times we know tragically it turns very badly where the trusted person in this case the clergy member has other ideas and predilections in mind,” McDonnell said.
The lawsuit also names the Archdiocese of Hartford, the archbishop and another pastor for their lack of protection.
Court documents say the archdiocese failed to give Galvis a mental evaluation or proper counseling following known allegations, then failed to report sexual abuse to authorities in accordance to the law and did not remove him from his duties within the church.
“It’s not right he’s still serving people,” McDonnell said. “The diocese needs to do the right thing and remove him from ministry especially in a parish setting while this is being resolved, investigated.”
The Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), are praising the victim for coming forward quickly, something Communications Manager Mike McDonnell knows firsthand isn’t easy.
“It’s very difficult because not only does it rattle your own personal faith, but you are then shocked as what to do next,” McDonnell said. “We stand in applause to this brave woman and for speaking her truth and wanting to hold not only her perpetrator but those who enabled her perpetrator accountable.”
A News 8 field crew did stop by both churches in Torrington and Hamden but no one was available for comment.
News 8 also reached out to the Archdiocese of Hartford who are declining to comment on pending litigation.
The video below aired in our 6 p.m. newscast on May 31, 2023.