Tucson Diocese Suits Pending Now at 20

Associated Press, carried in The Arizona Republic
July 29, 2004

TUCSON - As the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson considers filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because of mounting legal costs, the number of pending lawsuits against the diocese over alleged clergy sexual abuse is up to 20.

The diocese has named 28 priests, two deacons and one nun on a public list of clerics with credible accusations against them of sexually abusing minors.

In one of the four new lawsuits, Philip A. Hower refiled his suit in federal court rather than Pima County Superior Court.

Hower claims he was a victim of employment discrimination because he was a whistle-blower about clergy abuse and was turned down for the priesthood by the diocese.

Meanwhile, a Tucson-area woman and her son who were both former parishioners at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church claim in their lawsuit that the diocese lied to them about an accused molester.

The woman allegedly wrote letters in February 1992 and May 1993 to former Tucson Bishop Manuel D. Moreno after her son told her that he'd been sexually assaulted by Monsignor Robert C. Trupia when he was an altar boy about 1979.

The woman said Moreno lied to her when he said Trupia denied the allegations.

Trupia has been suspended from the priesthood but continues to receive a monthly stipend from the diocese.

In another suit against the diocese, a Tucson man claims he was sexually abused in 1982 by the Rev. Julian Sanz when he was an altar boy at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Douglas. Sanz is serving a five-year prison sentence, which he received after pleading no contest to sexually abusing the plaintiff.

A fourth lawsuit naming the diocese and the Rev. Juan Guillen was filed earlier this year in California. Guillen is serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty last year to two counts of attempted child molestation.

In 2002, the diocese reached a $14 million settlement with 10 men who claimed they were molested by four members of the local clergy.

Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas said that a decision on whether the diocese will file for bankruptcy protection will likely be made before a scheduled Sept. 15 sexual abuse trial.


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