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  Hereford Priest Accused of Abuse

By Don Munsch
Amarillo Globe
May 4, 2002

A Hereford priest has said he has been accused of abuse by a former Alamo Catholic High School student.

In a letter sent to St. Anthony's Church parishioners, Monsignor Orville Blum, pastor of the Hereford church, said the individual making the allegation said it occurred in the 1970s.

Blum, formerly a teacher and principal at Alamo Catholic High School, said he served the school for 19 years. Blum said in a telephone interview that he has taken a leave of absence until the matter is resolved.

Alamo Catholic High School is now Holy Cross Catholic Academy with grades six through 12.

"Since the allegation is unclear, I have no way to defend myself at this time," Blum said in the letter. "We are seeking a clarification of the allegation in order to know better its actual content and to make a defense within the Church and in court."

Blum, 64, who said he has been at St. Anthony's since 1988, said he had no further comment other than what was in the letter.

Asked whether he was surprised by the allegation, he said, "In light of what's going on at the national level, I'm not surprised, no."

Blum said the Diocese of Amarillo informed him of the allegation last week. He said that to his knowledge no criminal or civil complaint has been lodged against him. The Amarillo Police Department and the 47th District attorney's office said they had no complaints made against Blum.

John W. Yanta, bishop of the Diocese of Amarillo, would not comment on the accusation, including whether the complainant lived in Amarillo.

"We don't want to violate the rights of the monsignor or the one who is the author of the allegations," Yanta said.

Blum has a 15-day period to respond to the allegation, Yanta said.

Yanta said he expects to see the investigation wrapped up within a month.

"(Allegations are) springing up all over the country, and we're finding out that some of the allegations are just allegations," Yanta said. "We have to take each one on its merits."

Yanta would not say whether the diocese has received complaints on other priests.

"I regret that this is taking place," Yanta said. "I guess it's understandable in light of everything that's going at this time."

Blum said he was not sure who would be the church's pastor until he returns. He said the ministry staff will find a replacement.

 
 

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