Rueger Accuser Found Dead

By Bronislaus B. Kush
Telegram & Gazette
July 7, 2006

Worcester — Sime M. Braio, the former Shrewsbury man who rocked the local Catholic church in 2002 with charges that he had been sexually abused as a teenager by Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger, was found dead Monday in an East Side apartment.

Sgt. Gary J. Quitadamo said Mr. Braio's body was discovered by police about 6 p.m. in an apartment at 90 East Central St., in the city's Shrewsbury Street neighborhood. Mr. Braio was believed to be about 55.

Police, who were called to the scene by another resident of the building where Mr. Braio had been living over the past few months, do not suspect foul play.

Daniel J. Shea, a lawyer who had represented Mr. Braio in litigation against Bishop Rueger, said Mr. Braio had been ill for some time with a host of maladies, including cardiac problems.

Mr. Braio filed a civil suit in July 2002, alleging that the molestation by Bishop Rueger began when he was 13 and continued when he was older. According to the suit, the sexual abuse resulted in behavior that eventually landed Mr. Braio in the former Lyman School for Boys in Westboro.

The Worcester Diocese vigorously defended Bishop Rueger, and Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the papal nuncio to the United States, cleared him of any wrongdoing, just days after the suit was filed in Worcester Superior Court.

Mr. Braio dropped the suit in November 2003, as well as litigation against Monsignor Thomas Sullivan, the diocesan chancellor. Mr. Braio had filed an ancillary defamation suit against Monsignor Sullivan, charging that he had spread rumors that Mr. Braio had HIV.

"We will pray for the repose of his soul and pray for God's peace and comfort for his family and friends during their time of loss," said diocesan spokesman Raymond Delisle, when informed of Mr. Braio's death.

Mr. Shea said he learned about Mr. Braio's death late yesterday morning, after being contacted by officials from the state medical examiner's office, who were hoping the lawyer could help them find next of kin.

"I had some differences with him but he was a very likeable person," said Mr. Shea, noting Mr. Braio often offered him meatball and sausage meals in a gesture of hospitality. "I hope I served him well."

Mr. Shea said it was up to a jury to decide if Bishop Rueger was guilty, but he added that he thought he had enough evidence to make a good case.

He said a consulting doctor told him that Mr. Braio was "a good reporter of the events" that allegedly transpired with Bishop Rueger, and added the physician believed his client was suffering from a panic disorder.

Mr. Shea, who said that health problems precluded his client from holding down a job, said he was surprised by Mr. Braio's decision to dismiss him and to drop the court proceedings.


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