November 06, 2005

`I Just Start A Conversation'

Hartford Courant

November 6, 2005
By LYNNE TUOHY, Courant Staff Writer Before the 43 victims of sexual abuse by priests settled their claims with the Archdiocese of Hartford for $22 million, they had to place their faith and trust in one man: U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel.

They had to enter his spacious Bridgeport federal court chambers, detail the abuse inflicted on them as children and its impact on their lives, and leave knowing he alone would allocate the settlement money among them.

Garfinkel succeeded in gaining their trust, much as he had gained the trust of victims in two previous cases he mediated. He has become the go-to guy for both the plaintiffs' lawyers and the lawyers representing the church, who place their faith in his fairness.

Victim James Hackett may have paid Garfinkel the ultimate compliment, albeit an unusual one, when he said his session with Garfinkel and two other victims was akin to being at a meeting of SNAP - Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests.

Posted by kshaw at November 6, 2005 04:31 PM