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Diocese of Gallup Adds 31 Names to List of Priests Accused of Sexually Abusing Minors

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The Diocese of Gallup of New Mexico released a list this week of  31 additional priests accused of sexually abusing minors.    The release adds to their previous lists of 11.  Along with the list the Bishop James S. Wall released a statement:

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus:

When I became the Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup, I committed to ensuring that the children in this Diocese and in the Parishes, Missions or Schools that operate within the Diocese were protected. The Diocese published names of those working within the Diocese against whom there were credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. In my ongoing commitment to protection of children and to further my goal of transparency within this Diocese, we have determined that there are additional priests against whom there have been credible allegations of child abuse who worked in various places within the Diocese. I have sent letters to each Parish, Mission or School within the territory of the Diocese of Gallup where each of the priests or others served advising them that there was a priest who was ministering in that Parish, Mission or School against whom we have determined there were credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

As part of my ongoing commitment, we are now putting all the names, places and dates of service of credibly accused priests here on the Diocese’s website. This list will include the priests previously named as well as those who are being named now.

The publication of these additional names does not mean that our vigilance and continued investigation ends here. The investigations remain ongoing. The survivors who have come forward should be commended for their bravery and courage, and I express my deepest apologies for the actions of those who violated the trust of the survivors and the parishioners within the Diocese by committing these terrible acts. I reaffirm my commitment to protect our children and my commitment to continue to assist those who have been harmed.

If you or a loved one were harmed by the sexual misconduct of an employee or clergy within the Diocese of Gallup, we strongly encourage you to contact law enforcement. We also welcome you to contact the victim assistance coordinator at the Diocese, at 505-906-7357.

The new disclosure is interesting and hopeful will help those that have been lied to and help find those that have been hidden.  What is troubling is the comparison of Bishop Walls statement to Bishop Donald E. Pelotte 2003 statement  after the last disclosure when he said:

As much as all of us would like to put this behind us, the healing process and the development of policies and procedures to prevent it in the future require more attention. We have publicly committed ourselves not to return to “business as usual” but to make every effort to reform and move forward. I, as your bishop, commit myself and my staff to transparency and to the protection of all our children and youth.

The numbers make you wonder how hard they looked and how committed the church was to transparency in 2003.

It seems to be a ongoing battle every where.  Each new list comes with a promise of transparency and working to move forward,  which only is as true as it looks when the next  new list is forced out into the light.  I have been trying to figure out what caused the new disclosure.  My hope is that Bishop Wall really was working to fix past problems.  Experience suggests that there usually is some outside pressure and the Church is trying to get ahead of  what is often exposed in litigation.  What really matters is what is now done to insure safety based on the new disclosures.

The List

The following is a list of clergy identified by the Diocese of Gallup as having credible allegations of sexual misconduct made against them. (I added  information from BishopAccountability.org where the Church posted “Previously Published”)

 

Fr. William Allison

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Allison as an abuser in 2005. Allison, apparently from the Diocese of Alexandria, La., was a patient of the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs when he was allowed into the Gallup Diocese by Bishop Bernard Espelage. Allison worked from 1960 to 1961 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Flagstaff, and he directed the Newman Club at Arizona State College, now Northern Arizona University. Allison later worked in California parishes. Although Gallup diocesan officials said in 2005 there was only one credible allegation against Allison, the Rev. James Lindenmeyer, Allison’s former supervisor in Flagstaff, wrote a letter in 1963 saying, “Three young men in the parish have told me of incidents involving him.” Allison’s personnel file was obtained by subpoena in a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Fresno, Calif.

Died: Dec. 6, 1987

Reviewing his assignments he was in Louisiana,  Colorado,  New Mexico, California,   and Arizona between 1954 and 87.

Fr. Michael Aten

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Diocese of Gallup announced in 2003 that it had received more than one credible allegation of abuse against Aten, who was ordained for the Gallup Diocese in January 1977. Aten worked in the Arizona communities of Pinetop, St. Johns and Winslow. At Pinetop’s St. Mary of the Angels, Aten worked with notorious sex abuser James M. Burns. Aten was removed from ministry and is believed to have abused a number of boys in Apache and Navajo Counties. Aten died in Missouri, June 24, 2001.

Died: June 24, 2001

Fr. Michael Baca, OFM (Deceased)

Assignments:
Immaculate Conception Parish, Cuba NM (1953)
St. Joseph the Worker Parish, San Fidel NM (1961)
Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Chinle AZ (1978)

 

Fr. George Baz

Assignment:
St. Joseph Parish, Winslow AZ (07/1968-09/1968)

Fr. John Boland

Assignments:
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Holbrook AZ (1975)
St. Philip Parish, Church Rock NM (1977)
Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Page AZ (1978)
Madre de Dios Parish, Winslow AZ (1980-1983)
St. Jerome Parish, Gallup NM
St. Mary Parish, Bloomfield NM (1987)
Sacred Heart School Chaplain, Farmington NM (1994)
Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Cebolleta NM (1995)
Our Lady of Light Mission, Cubero NM (1995)
St. Joseph the Worker School Chaplain, San Fidel NM (1995)
St. Paul Parish, Crownpoint NM (1999)
Risen Savior Mission, Bluewater NM (1999)
Immaculate Conception Parish, Cuba NM (2002)

Fr. James Burns

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Burns as an abuser in 2003. Ordained for the Gallup Diocese in May 1962, Burns’ career spanned more than 30 years, and his assignments sent him to parishes across Northern Arizona and finally to Blanco, N.M. Burns is believed to have abused upwards of several dozen children, mostly boys from devout Hispanic families. In 2004, Superior Court Judge Gloria J. Kindig sentenced Burns to 18 months in prison after one of Burns’ victims filed a complaint with the Winslow Police Department and the County Attorney’s Office prosecuted Burns (Navajo County Superior Court Case No. CR20040417). That same victim also hired the California law firm of Kiesel Boucher & Larson and filed a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Dec. 24, 2003. Burns died in Wickenburg, Ariz., Aug. 6, 2010. Gallup Bishop James S. Wall allowed Burns to be buried in the predominately Hispanic Catholic cemetery at St. Rose in Blanco.

Brett Candelaria (Lay CCD Teacher)

Assignment:
Holy Trinity Parish, Flora Vista, NM (1991-1992)

Fr. Santino Casimano

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Casimano as an abuser in 2005. Ordained for the Diocese of Gallup in August 1975, Casimano worked just about one year at St. Paul in Crownpoint on the Navajo Nation. By 1978, Casimano received permission to work in California. He later bounced from one Navy chaplain position to another. In 2004, California attorney Katherine K. Freberg filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of two brothers who said Casimano had sexually abused them. According to the Orange County Register, the Diocese of Orange, one of the defendants in the case, eventually paid a $4.2 million settlement to Casimano’s victims. The Diocese of Gallup was also named in the lawsuit. Casimano died Aug. 8, 2005.

Fr. Charles Cichanowicz, OFM

Assignments:
St. Michaels Parish, St. Michaels AZ (1980)
Christ the King Parish, Shiprock NM (1983)

O.F.M: Cichanowicz is a former Franciscan priest who worked on the Navajo Nation in St. Michaels and Shiprock. He later left the Franciscan priesthood to become a mental health counselor in Indiana. Patrick Noaker, an attorney with Jeff Anderson & Associates of St. Paul, Minn., and attorney William R. Keeler of Gallup, have filed three lawsuits in the Navajo Nation courts on behalf of three Navajo men who say they were sexually abused by Cichanowicz. The first lawsuit was filed in Shiprock District Court in November 2007 (Case No. SR-CV-369-07-CV), and the other two lawsuits were filed in Window Rock District Court on April 15, 2009 and May 11, 2009. The Shiprock judge dismissed the first case, ruling the statue of limitations had expired. Noaker and Keeler have filed an appeal with the Navajo Nation Supreme Court, but at this time all three cases are stalled in the Navajo court system. Cichanowicz’s whereabouts are unknown.

Fr. David Clark, CMF

Assignment:
Sacred Heart, Prescott AZ (06/1960 – 07/1960)

According to a Feb. 7, 1994, article in the Phoenix Gazette, two brothers filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Gallup in Maricopa County Superior Court in 1993 (Case No. CV1993-026626). The brothers claimed that Clark, a member of the Claretian Missionaries, had sexually abused them in 1959 and 1960, while Clark was working at the Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott, Ariz., which was once a part of the Diocese of Gallup prior to the formation of the Diocese of Phoenix. Clark’s whereabouts are unknown.

Fr. Timothy Conlon

Assignments:
St. John the Baptist Parish, St. Johns AZ (11/2011 – 12/2013)
San Rafael Parish, Concho AZ (11/2011 – 12/2013)

Fr. Joseph Coutu

Assignments:
St. Mary Parish, Farmington NM (05/1981 – 12/1981)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Holbrook AZ (12/1981 – 1983)
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Gallup NM (1983 – 06/1984)

Fr. John Degnan (Deceased)

Assignments:
St. Mary, Kingman AZ (1951)
St. Cecilia, Clarksdale AZ (1952 – 1961)
St. Ann, Ash Fork AZ (1952 – 1961)
Madre de Dios Parish, Winslow AZ (06/1961 – 09/1961)

Fr. Clement Hageman

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Hageman as an abuser in 2005. An alleged victim of Hageman’s is suing the diocese in Arizona’s Coconino County Superior Court (Case No. CV2010-00713). The plaintiff’s attorney, Robert Pastor of Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally, has obtained documents from Hageman’s personnel file that shows the priest abused boys in the Diocese of Corpus Christi in Texas before moving to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and eventually the Diocese of Gallup, where he worked for about 35 years. Pastor has also discovered a trail of Hageman’s abuse victims, mostly Hispanic males, from Holbrook, Winslow and Kingman. Many of the victims have received confidential settlement payouts from the Diocese of Gallup. Hageman died in Winslow in 1975.

Fr. Julian Hartig

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Hartig, a Franciscan priest, as an abuser in 2005. Originally from the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist in Cincinnati, Hartig worked at Gallup’s Sacred Heart Cathedral in the early 1950s. In the early 1960s, he worked at the Catholic parish in Lumberton, N.M., which had nearby Native American missions. The Diocese of Gallup and the Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe have confirmed there was at least one credible allegation against Hartig, who died Oct. 14, 1987.

Fr. Robert J. Kirsch (Deseased)

Assignments:
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Flagstaff AZ (1957)
Santo Nino de Atocha Parish, Aragon NM (1958 – 1959)
St. Francis, Seligman AZ (1959 – 1962)
Madre de Dios Parish, Winslow AZ (1963 – 1964)

Ordained for the Gallup Diocese in January 1957, Kirsch was a New York native who had previously instructed for the Holy Cross Mission (Jesuit Order) in the Northwest. Kirsch worked in Gallup’s Arizona parishes in Flagstaff, Seligman, and Winslow and the New Mexico parish of Aragon before transferring to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. It is not known if Kirsch abused anyone in the Gallup Diocese. One media report has claimed Kirsch was treated by the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, N.M. In 1991, attorney Bruce Pasternak filed a civil lawsuit (Bernalillo County District Court Case No. D-202-CV-9108259) on behalf of a Hispanic woman who claimed Kirsch forced her into a sexual relationship when she was 15 years old in the Santa Fe Archdiocese. A 2002 “60 Minutes” news report on clergy sex abuse included Kirsch’s story. Kirsch died in 2005, but Santa Fe Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan would not allow Kirsch to be buried on Catholic Church property.

Fr. Bruce MacArthur

Assignmenst:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Gallup Diocese publicly identified MacArthur as an abuser in 2005. MacArthur is a convicted sex offender and self-admitted pedophile from the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D. A former patient of the Servants of the Paraclete, he abused and raped girls and women across the country for decades. In 1978, MacArthur was sentenced to prison in Texas after being convicted of attempting to rape a disabled nursing home patient. In 2003, MacArthur was discovered living in Gallup, where he volunteered at the Little Sisters of the Poor’s senior care facility, the Missionaries of Charity’s Casa San Martin soup kitchen, and the Casa Reina Prayer Chapel. MacArthur was never authorized to serve as a priest in the Gallup Diocese, and it is unknown if he ever abused here. In 2008, Wisconsin authorities prosecuted MacArthur for old sex abuse crimes. Although he was in his 80s, MacArthur was convicted and sent to jail once again.

Fr. Douglas McNeill

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Gallup Diocese publicly identified McNeill as an abuser in 2003. Ordained for the Gallup Diocese in May 1970, McNeill was removed from ministry in 1994 when attorney Bruce Pasternack filed a sex abuse lawsuit against him (Bernalillo County District Court Case No. CV-94-06368). The plaintiff was an adult Hispanic man who claimed McNeill sexually abused him in the late 1970s when the victim was a high school student in Thoreau, N.M. According to the complaint, when the victim confronted McNeill about the abuse, McNeill hired an attorney to draw up a release form for the victim to sign in exchange for a $15,000 cash payment, reportedly taken from Thoreau’s St. Bonaventure Indian Mission. The victim refused and filed the lawsuit. Although McNeill has supporters who believe he was innocent, the Diocese of Gallup was forced to produce McNeill’s personnel file which indicated McNeill had allegedly sexually abused two Hispanic brothers in Arizona on a 1971 camping trip. The 1994 lawsuit ended with a settlement agreement for the victim. McNeill’s whereabouts are unknown.

Fr. Rene Messier

Assignments:
St. Mary Mediatrix of all Graces, Yarnell AZ (1961-1963)
St. Anne, Ashfork AZ (1963)

Fr. Lucien Meurnier (Deceased)

Assignment:
St. Joseph Parish, Winslow AZ (08/1972 – 06/1973)

Fr. Francis Murphy

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Murphy, a Boston native, as an abuser in 2003. A former monsignor with the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Murphy retired to Cuba, N.M., located within the Diocese of Gallup. Sex abuse allegations against Murphy were chronicled in a series of newspaper articles by the Anchorage Daily News. After moving to New Mexico, Murphy presented himself as a Catholic priest and offered addiction recovery and spiritual retreat counseling. Gallup chancery officials issued a public warning that Murphy was not allowed to function as a priest in the Gallup Diocese. It is unknown if Murphy still lives in New Mexico.

Fr. John Newton, CPPS

Assignments:
St. Joseph Parish, Winslow AZ (10/1955 – 1957)
St. Peter Parish, Springerville AZ (05/1957 – 1959)

Fr. Jose Rodriguez

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

In 2003, the Gallup Diocese publicly identified Rodriguez as an abuser with more than one credible abuse allegation. Rodriguez was ordained for the Gallup Diocese in August 1975 and worked in nearly a dozen parishes in Arizona and New Mexico for about 25 years. His whereabouts are unknown.

Fr. William Roper, CMF

Assignment:
Sacred Heart, Prescott AZ (1964-1965)

Fr. Conran Runnebaum, OFM (Deceased)

Assignments:
St. Teresa of Avila Parish, Grants NM (06/29/55 – 07/1958)
Sacred Heart Parish, Farmington NM (07/1958 – 07/1964)
St. Joseph the Worker Parish, San Fidel NM (07/1964 – 1973)
Sacred Heart Parish, Farmington NM (07/1975 – 1978)

Fr. Raul Sanchez

Assignments:
Madre de Dios Parish, Winslow AZ (07/1975 – 10/1976)
Chancellor, Gallup Diocese (1979 – 11/1986)

Fr. Lawrence Schreiber, OFM

Assignments:
St. Isabel Parish, Lukachukai AZ (1961 – 1962)
St. Michaels Parish, St. Michaels AZ (1962 – 1963)
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish, Ft. Defiance AZ (1963 – 1968)
Christ the King Parish, Shiprock NM (1968 – 1969)
St. Jude Parish, Tuba City AZ (1969 – 1976)
Christ the King Parish, Shiprock NM (1977 – 1981)
St. Isabel Parish, Lukachukai AZ (1981 – 1983)
St. Michaels Parish, St. Michaels AZ (1983 – 1986)
Sacred Heart Parish, Farmington NM (1986 – 1990)
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish, Ft. Defiance AZ (1990 – 1991)

Fr. John Sullivan

Assignments:
Previously Published – Assignments to be Updated

The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Sullivan as an abuser in 2005. Sullivan, originally from the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., was a notorious abuser who victimized girls and women across the country for decades. Sullivan was recruited to the Diocese of Gallup by Bishop Bernard Espelage while Sullivan was being treated as a sex abuser by the Servants of the Paraclete. According to documents obtained by the New Hampshire Attorney General, Espelage incardinated Sullivan into the Gallup Diocese in January 1965. Sullivan was assigned to Catholic parishes in Winslow, Seligman, Clarkdale and Kingman. When the Diocese of Phoenix was formed in 1969, Sullivan transferred there and abused more girls. After his retirement, Sullivan was accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl in New Hampshire. Sullivan died in 1999 in San Diego.

Fr. Carl Todaro

Assignment:
Mount St. Mary’s of the West Seminary (1951 – 1952)

Fr. David Enrique Viramontes (Deceased)

Assignments:
Santo Niño de Atocha Parish, Aragon NM (06/1957 – 06/1958)
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Flagstaff AZ (06/1958 – 07/1959)
St. Joseph Parish, Winslow AZ (07/1959 – 07/1960)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Holbrook AZ (07/1960 – 01/1961)
St. Pius X, Flagstaff AZ (01/1961)

Fr. Samuel Wilson (Deceased)

Assignments:
Church of the Nativity, Flagstaff AZ (1952)
Santo Niño de Atocha Parish, Aragon NM (08/1952 – 1957)
Church of the Nativity, Flagstaff AZ (1958)
St. John the Baptist Parish, St. Johns AZ (10/1958 – 1960)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Holbrook AZ (1961)
St. Cecelia Parish, Clarkdale AZ (07/1961 – 1962)
Immaculate Conception, Cottonwood AZ (07/1961 – 1962)
St. Francis Cabrini, Camp Verde AZ (1962 – 1964)
St. Lawrence, Humboldt AZ (1963 – 1964)
St. Joseph, Mayer AZ (1963 – 1964)
Madre de Dios Parish, Winslow AZ (08/1964 – 12/1965)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Flagstaff AZ (09/1968 – 1969)
Tolani Lake Indian, Leupp AZ (1970 – 1971)
San Rafael Parish, San Rafael NM (1972)
Our Lady of Sorrows Mission, Cebolleta NM (1973)
St. Rita Parish, Show Low AZ (1974 – 1975)
St. Catherine Parish, Cibecue AZ (1976 – 1979)
St. Anthony Parish, McNary AZ (1980)
RMCH and GIMC Hospitals; McKinley Manor, Gallup NM (1985-1986)

The names continue to be disclosed, there are more lists that exist around the world, and there are many more names to find.  There are also files with every name that need to be disclosed.

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.

 

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