Hide the Buggering Priests!
A Brief History of Pedophilic-Priest Shuffling in the Diocese of Orange
By Gustavo Arellano firstname.lastname@example.org
Orange County Weekly
July 9, 2004
[See also other
articles by Gustavo Arellano.]
For the next year, the Dallas Morning News will publish a monumental series
exposing how Catholic churches across the globe transferred child-molesting
priests to poorer, more isolated dioceses. We're talking American Samoa,
Coachella, Tijuana, Tustin . . . Tustin?!
Blame the inclusion of those last three locations on the Diocese of Orange.
Not to be outdone by other notorious priest-shuffling dioceses in such
places as Los Angeles and Boston, our local see has shipped off its share
of pederast priests during its 28-year history to impoverished parishes
on Indian reservations, in Tijuana slums and within the 909 area code.
In addition, other Catholic churches from across the country also used
Orange County as a dumping ground for their kiddie-fiddling clergy, sometimes
with the full knowledge of Orange diocesan officials. Here are 10 of those
fathers, all identified by the Diocese of Orange as having sexually abused
children during their stint in the county.
• Sofrorio Aranda. Aranda's last OC assignment
was at La Habra's Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1979. Diocese records then
list him as . . . well, they don't list him for the next two years until
he reappears in 1981 at the Diocese of San Bernardino, which covers San
Bernardino and Riverside counties. For the next eight years, Aranda bounced
around from obscure desert city (Trona!) to obscure desert city (Mecca!)
before finally ending up at the Soboba Indian Reservation in San Jacinto
• Franklin J. Buckman. Accused of molesting three
children while at St. Polycarp in Stanton and other parishes in Los Angeles
and Orange counties from 1962 to 1984, Buckman went "on assignment"
in 1985 to the Diocese of Baker, a rural area encompassing the Klamath
Indian Reservation in southern Oregon. Buckman stayed "on assignment"
there for the next 17 years until his removal from the ministry in 2002.
• Santino Casimano. Casimano stayed only four years
in the Diocese of Orange—his last gig was at St. Anthony Claret in Anaheim
in 1979—before enlisting in the Armed Forces as a Navy chaplain. For the
next 21 years, he traveled from port to port, servicing sailors until
retiring in 2000. Casimano resigned as principal at a Connecticut Catholic
high school earlier this year after two county men filed a lawsuit against
Casimano alleging abuse while he served in Orange County.
• Robert Foley. According to a 2002 Morning News
report, in 1985, Michael Driscoll—then chancellor for the Orange diocese,
now Bishop of the Diocese of Boise—wrote a letter to a priest in Liverpool,
England, begging him to take the Reverend Robert Foley. Foley had just
admitted to molesting an eight-year-old boy during a camping trip organized
by St. Justin Martyr in Anaheim. The boy's mother, Driscoll wrote, "has
threatened to go to the police," and Foley "is in jeopardy of
arrest and possible imprisonment if he remains here." Foley left
the U.S. for England; he never faced prosecution for the molestation.
Driscoll later apologized for his actions—after the Morning News report.
• John Kenney. Kenney started his career in 1975
at St. Cecilia in Tustin, moved to St. Norbert in Orange two years later,
then was transferred to the Diocese of Baker, where he died in a car accident
on July 24, 1977. The Orange diocese lists him as a child molester; lawsuits
filed in Bend, Oregon, allege the same.
• Eleuterio "Big Al" Ramos. King of the
county pedophiles, Ramos admitted to molesting at least 25 boys during
a decade-long stint in the county. Like Buckman, Ramos also went "on
assignment" for the Orange diocese—in his case, in Tijuana, Mexico,
where he remained until Orange diocesan officials finally defrocked him
WE GOT DUMPED WITH:
• Richard T. Coughlin. In 1988, the Boston Archdiocese
let Orange diocesan officials know that they had received a child-abuse
complaint against Richard T. Coughlin, then the head of the All-American
Boys Choir in Costa Mesa. Our Catholic hierarchy did nothing about the
notice until five years later, when they suspended Coughlin on suspicion
of systematically fondling boys for nearly 30 years.
• Jerome Henson. Sacramento-area police officers
caught Henson in flagrante delicto with a 13-year-old in a graveyard on
a summer night in 1981. This boneyard tryst did not stop former Orange
Bishop Norman McFarland—then the bishop of Reno—from receiving Henson
just five days after the incident, nor did it dissuade McFarland from
shipping Henson down to Orange County in 1984, where McFarland would join
him two years later.
• Henry Perez. Perez left the Orange diocese in
1991 after the Diocese of Phoenix let Orange officials know Perez molested
children there during the early 1980s.
• Siegfried Widera. Despite a warning from the
Milwaukee Archdiocese that Widera once underwent a "moral problem
having to do with a boy" (the "moral problem" was a child-molestation
conviction), Orange officials nevertheless welcomed Widera to county parishes
in 1976. Once here, Widera went on to sexually assault at least four other
boys before officials exiled him to New Mexico in 1985.