Buffalo Catholic Diocese acknowledges federal inquiry

Buffalo Catholic Diocese acknowledges federal inquiry
Sacramento Catholic diocese delays releasing names of priests accused of sex abuse
These are the priests named Thursday by the Diocese of San Jose as credibly accused of abusing children during their time in the diocese.

While a pastor at the former St. Patrick parish in San Jose, Noia was arrested and convicted in 1976 after two boys reported he sexually abused them on a camping trip. When he got out of jail in 1978, he was transferred to three other San Jose parishes: St. Julie Billiart until 1982, St. Anthony until 1986 and Five Wounds, where he served for 16 years until 2002, when the church banned all priest child molesters from ministry. Each time Noia was introduced at a new parish, according to a newspaper account in 2004, either he or the pastor announced to the parish his past record. The same news account says he was accused of sexual misconduct with two boys while he was at St. Anthony’s parish in 1985, although the the family didnt pursue compensation or a lawsuit and those accusations are not listed in the diocese account.

1 / 2FILE – In this Aug. 29, 2018, file photo, U.S. Attorney William McSwain is shown at a news conference in Philadelphia. McSwain sent out grand jury subpoenas last week to Pennsylvania dioceses as part of a federal investigation of clergy abuse in Catholic churches. The investigation, which follows a state grand jury probe, was confirmed by multiple sources who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. McSwain wouldnt comment. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, File)PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two years ago, a federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh considered filing a racketeering lawsuit against a Roman Catholic diocese over its handling of child sex-abuse complaints, but left office before he could make the bold move.

While a priest at St. Justin parish in Santa Clara from 1991 to 1993, Gray was accused of sexually abusing three teenage boys he taught in a karate class, including at least one from St. Christopher parish. In 1993, in exchange for a no contest plea in one case, two other counts were dropped. Gray served 160 days in jail and received psychiatric treatment before returning to the diocese in 1995, when he was given a job as an administrator in the cemeteries department. He was still allowed to serve Mass weekly at different parishes and preside over weddings. He was permanently banned from ministry in 2002, in accordance with the Dallas Charter.Related Articles San Jose diocese names 15 priests accused of abuse

San Jose Diocese lists 15 priests accused of abusing children – Los Angeles Times

Originally of the Archdiocese of Popayan in Colombia, Toro was accused of sexual misconduct with a child while at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Alviso in 1983. He was convicted and registered as a sex offender in 1983, but that didnt stop his work in the church. After his conviction, Toro went on to serve at St. Athanasius Parish in Mountain View; St. Catherine Parish in Morgan Hill; and St. Aloysius Parish in Palo Alto. He was sent to a detention ministry in 1988 and was permanently banned from the ministry two years later. Toro retired that year and now lives in San Leandro, according to the Diocese. The allegations against him had not previously been disclosed.

Largente was removed from ministry in 1994, the same year the victim came forward recounting sexual molestation by Largente at St. Patrick Cathedral between 1980 and 1983. The case apparently wasn’t made public until this week. Largente was put on leave from St. Patrick’s in 1987, although the reason isn’t explained. He was transferred to Church of the Ascension in Saratoga later that year. Although he was “removed from ministry” in 1994, in accordance with the Dallas Charter, he was permanently banned from ministry in 2002.

“This subpoena is no surprise considering the horrific misconduct detailed in the statewide grand jury report,” the Greensburg Diocese said in a statement. “Survivors, parishioners and the public want to see proof that every diocese has taken sweeping, decisive and impactful action to make children safer. We see this as another opportunity for the Diocese of Greensburg to be transparent.”

Bettencourt reportedly engaged in sexual misconduct with a child while serving at St. Justin Parish in Santa Clara in 1982. The diocese says the abuse was not reported until 1997, seven years after Bettencourt, the 48-year-old scion of two well-known San Jose families and a heavy smoker, died from respiratory failure. From 1974 to 1988 he served at parishes and Catholic schools from San Francisco to San Jose to Campbell to Los Gatos. In a 1981 article, a year before the abuse, Bettencourt told a reporter he found the most satisfaction in “restoring the faith of someone who has been driven from the church by the insensitivity of some other priest.” Bettencourt’s father, Anthony Bettencourt, owned a fountain at 17th Street and Santa Clara Avenue that became a popular hangout for San Jose families, and his mother Elizabeth was part of the Pasetta construction family. The allegations against Bettencourt had not previously been disclosed.

Feds: Child exploitation focus of Pennsylvania church probe

Pritchard, a priest from the 1950s through late 1980s, was accused of sexual abuse by at least 19 victims, at least 10 from St. Martin of Tours parish in San Jose and one from St. Nicholas in Los Altos. The cases werent made public until the early 2000s, when the St. Martins victims came forward. However, the father of one of the victims said that in 1977, he wrote a letter of complaint to church officials and was told that Pritchard was in therapy and would be transferred. Pritchard left St. Martins in 1978 and moved to St. Nicholas in Los Altos, where he served until the year of his death in 1988. The diocese’s list Thursday said it was not alerted to Pritchard’s abuse until lawsuits were filed in 2002 and 2003. However, a victim’s father mailed a letter in 1977 alerting church officials to the abuse of his son and other children by Pritchard. Over the years, the diocese has said the letter didn’t exist, but it later stipulated in court that the father sent the letter. Attorney Rob Mezzetti, who represented about 10 of Pritchard’s victims, said “that list is wrong and they know it’s wrong.” Mezzetti said he deposed Bishop McGrath during the case.

Lynn, first U.S. church official ever prosecuted for the alleged cover-up of child molestation by priests, was arrested on child-endangerment charges. At trial, he said he had merely followed orders from above. A jury convicted him in 2012. He spent three years in and out of prison as his conviction was twice overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He is awaiting a third trial.

Larkin was removed as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Saratoga in 2005 after the diocese was served with a lawsuit by two men who allege he molested them while they were altar boys at Our Lady of the Rosary in Palo Alto in the late 1970s. One of the men, known as “John Doe 31” in court filings, told the Mercury News in 2005 that Larkin was a trusted friend of the family who visited them three to four times a week. He escaped his abuse, he said, when he went off to college. At the same time he was filing his lawsuit, the diocese was contacting law enforcement and initiating an investigation into Larkin based on an anonymous letter posted on car windows at Sacred Heart. The letter writer described being abused as a teen by Larkin at St. William in Los Altos. Larkin was put on restrictive ministry duties in 2005 and was permanently banned in 2009. He still resides in San Jose, according to the diocese.

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The diocese found credible sexual misconduct allegations involving children against visiting priest Flickinger while he stayed at St. Frances Cabrini in San Jose and Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga from the 1990s to the early 2000s. The diocese said they learned of the abuse in 2002, 2005 and 2006, the latter year Flickinger was permanently banned from the ministry. Flickinger, who was a visiting priest from the Fresno diocese and allowed to stay in the South Bay rectories as he cared for his ailing mother, was sued by at least three individuals who alleged he molested them as children — two boys and a girl. At the Saratoga parish, Flickinger would hear confessions and prepare second-graders for their First Communions.

“This is the first time I have ever heard of a federal investigation into child sexual abuse in a Catholic diocese or church. This is a monumental moment for clergy sexual victims everywhere,” said Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston-based plaintiffs lawyer who played a major role in uncovering the scandal in the Boston Archdiocese in 2002.

Moss was accused of sexual misconduct with children while at St. Joseph Parish in Mountain View from 1963 to 1976, when it was part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The allegations were reported in 2002, 2004 and 2012 to the Diocese of San Jose, established in 1981. Moss had retired in 1976 and died a decade later, the diocese said. The allegations had not previously been made public.

Buffalo Diocese under federal investigation, served with subpoena

Senevirante was accused of sexual misconduct with a child some time between 1971 and 1972 while at St. Leo the Great School in San Jose. The San Jose diocese associated him with a diocese in Sri Lanka but indicated he spent time in San Jose in 1970 at St. Martin of Tours, St. Leo the Great and St. Maria Goretti parishes. The abuse was reported in 2002 and the diocese said he was permanently banned from ministry that year and that he died in 2009. The allegations against Senevirante had not previously been disclosed.

After a review of internal church documents, the report said there were “credible” allegations against more than 300 “predator priests” in Pennsylvania who sexually abused more than 1,000 children in cases going back to the 1940s. The report also resulted in criminal charges against two Catholic priests. Neither the Archdiocese of Philadelphia nor the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown were flagged in August’s grand jury report, but they were the subject of other grand jury investigations in previous years.

Four priests named in sweeping sex abuse lawsuit

Sunseri was accused of sexual misconduct with children at St. Christopher Parish in 1986 and while at Holy Family Parish the following year. The abuse was reported in 1987 and 2018, and the diocese said Sunseri was permanently banned from ministry in 1988 but still living in San Jose. The allegations against Sunseri had not previously been disclosed.

The PBS NewsHour confirmed that Justice Department prosecutors served subpoenas to six of Pennsylvania’s eight Catholic dioceses: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton. A seventh diocese — Harrisburg — told the NewsHour in a statement that it will “cooperate fully” with the DOJ’s inquiry, but didn’t specify whether it was served with a subpoena.

McCrillis was accused by two sisters of sexual misconduct during his time at St. Albert the Great Parish & St. Patrick Seminary between 1968-1969. The sisters said McCrillis became close to the family after their parents divorced and that he and their mother had an affair. When they were in junior high, they said he began molesting them. Parkinsons disease forced him to retire in 2003. The sisters sued in 2004, won a settlement, and he was banned from ministry that year. Aside from several pastoral assignments, McCrillis also ran two restaurants and wrote poetry. But by the time he died in 2007, many parishioners still didnt know about the accusations, and those that did were angered by the glowing obituaries and memorials he received upon his death.

The new investigation follows a nearly 900-page grand jury report, released in August, that compiled testimonies from victims alleging decades of abuse by clergy and other church officials. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro told reporters at the time that the testimonies also pointed to a “sophisticated” cover-up by top church officials.

Mariano was reported and convicted in 1998 of having sex with a 17-year-old boy that he met in an internet chat room. He was convicted of two felonies and spent five months in Santa Clara County Jail. Mariano was permanently banned from the ministry in 1998, the same year he left Most Holy Trinity Parish in San Jose. But according to parishioners, the diocese didn’t disclose the information to them, and many wondered why Mariano quietly left the church without notice. They didn’t find out about the charges against him until 2002, when his name came up in news reports in a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. After being forced out of the church, Mariano, like other priests, was taken to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos.

Weeks after the report was released, its findings have prompted attorneys general in other states — including Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and New Mexico, among others — to pursue their own investigations into the issue. The scopes of these individual probes, along with what exactly the DOJ investigation will include, are not yet clear.

UPDATE: Diocese of Peoria responds to sex-abuse lawsuit

Dondero was accused of sexual misconduct with a child while at St. Joseph Parish in the 1960s, according to the diocese, which said the incident wasn’t reported to them until 2002. Dondero had several pastoral assignments throughout the South Bay and a stint at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in the 1950s. After leaving St. Thomas Cantebury Parish in Campbell in 1980, Dondero spent seven years at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, where he died in 1997.

The U.S. Department of Justice is launching an investigation into child sex abuse within Pennsylvanias Roman Catholic churches, the latest fallout of widespread allegations made public by a grand jury probe this summer, and felt in communities across the U.S.

Harrison was accused of sexually abusing children he met at St. Frances Cabrini parish in San Jose between 1974 and 1976, as well as at Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Novato in 1961. Although he was not her parish priest, one of the victims told this news organization that said she had been repeatedly molested in the 1970s at Harrisons cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Harrison was listed as chaplain at San Quentin Prison at the time. The first victims didnt come forward until 1988 — after Harrison had been serving for 10 years as priest at St. Elizabeth parish in Milpitas and had moved to Church of the Ascension in Saratoga. In 1989, Harrison was put on leave. He retired in 1992, was permanently banned from ministry in 2002, and died in 2005.

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The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento said this week it will postpone releasing names of priests accused of sexual abuse until an independent auditor can review thousands of personnel records.

A spokesman for the diocese on Oct. 10 said it planned on having staff members produce a list within a few weeks. Monday, Bishop Jaime Soto said that the sensitivity of the matter combined with the increased scrutiny towards the Catholic church required hiring an outside investigator as a more prudent course of action.

Courtney Norris is a national affairs producer for the NewsHour. She can be reached at cnorris@newshour.org

There (are) a lot of files, more than 2,000 files, that have to be reviewed and my staff was overwhelmed by the size of the task and the expectation that it would be an accurate and transparent list, Soto said.

“Allegations of sexual abuse of children by religious order priests who served or resided at schools and other institutions operated not by the Diocese but by their religious order in Santa Clara County were investigated by the religious order, to which the priest belonged,” Sullivan said in a written response to questions from NBC Bay Area. “In these cases, without their personnel files, we do not know whether the allegations were deemed credible and cannot responsibly release their names.”

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Soto said the diocese planned to hire former FBI agent Kathleen McChesney, a consultant who has worked with other dioceses to do similar reviews. In 2002, McChesney worked with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, the churchs national leadership organization, to create its office of Child and Youth Protection.

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The list, which mostly contains accusations made decades ago, was released after the the Bishop held four listening sessions for survivors and members of the church. McGrath said the meetings were informative and painful. He also defined “credible accusation,” a term some abuse victims feared would lead to an incomplete list because the Church would be the ultimate arbiter of an accuser’s credibility. 

In 2015, McChesney reviewed personnel files at the Archdiocese of Seattle, leading to the release of a list of 77 priests and other church officials with credible child sexual abuse allegations against them. In 2018, she reviewed the records of the Diocese of Little Rock and named eight priests with substantiated sex abuse allegations. In California, her firm has been hired to review the personnel files of the Diocese of San Jose and the Diocese of Oakland.

The Diocese of Sacramento hasnt set a firm date for when the list will be completed, but spokesman Kevin Eckery said it hopes McChesney will begin in late February or early March and finish the review within a few weeks.

San Jose Diocese Releases Names Of Priests Accused Of Sexual Abuse

Along with the names of priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors, the diocese will release brief descriptions of allegations and when they occurred, Soto said.

Eckery said the diocese was uncertain if it would release the current employment status of the accused priests, or their current location. He said he expected any named priests would have already been dismissed by the church and their location might not be available.

“There can no longer be a culture of secrecy in the Church, but one of transparency and accountability,” Bishop McGrath said a statement released today. “ Our work will not be complete until all of those who have been harmed have received assistance in healing and until the evil of child sexual abuse has been eradicated from society.”

If theyre cut loose, theyre cut loose, Eckery said. We would rarely know where they go.

What we know about the priests included on the San Jose diocese list

Sotos decision to scour local records for abusers follows similar actions in other dioceses as stories of widespread sexual abuse and coverups continue to rattle the church. A nearly 900-page Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August found bishops and other church leaders concealed the child sexual abuse of more than 300 priests over a 70-year period.

The Diocese of San Jose says the Catholic Church changed the way it handled these cases after 2002, when the Dallas Charter was established. The Charter is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.

It is a very difficult time for the church and for Catholics and also for many of their pastors and priests, Soto said. This is also a time for me to own what has been our path and for us to recognize that and do what we can to atone for what has happened.

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In the early 2000s, the Sacramento diocese agreed to pay $35 million to settle 33 sexual abuse cases against 10 priests in the diocese. More recently, a Sacramento Catholic priest, Uriel Ojeda, pleaded guilty in 2013 to molesting a 13-year-old girl.

Eckery said in a previous interview that the current probe will likely include more than those previously identified priests.

Video: San Jose Catholic Church Holds Final Meeting For Sexual Abuse Victims

Releasing the names of church officials accused of sexual abuse reflects regional dioceses efforts to increase transparency, but rarely results in criminal prosecution. In the case of the Seattle Archdiocese and the Diocese of Little Rock, no arrests or charges were made against accused church officials as a result of new names being released. While some identified had previously been arrested and charged with crimes, many of the newly identified church officials were deceased, or had committed the alleged abuse several decades ago, exceeding statutes of limitation.


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