A Peculiar Source for Holy Week Meditation
It's Palm Sunday, San Diego Catholics. Open up Your Bulletins, and See --- Molesters
California Catholic Daily [San Diego CA]
April 3, 2007
The San Diego diocese on March 30 released the names of 38 priests against whom, according to the diocese, "credible allegations" of sexual abuse have been made. The diocese said it and the San Bernardino diocese inserted in bulletins for Palm Sunday notices of the list and where to find it on the diocesan web site. San Bernardino was formerly part of the San Diego diocese.
Alleged victims' attorney, Irwin Zalkin, however, said he has a list of 31 names not found in the diocese's "credible allegations" list. "This is a list of 'priests with credible claims'? Credible according to whom?" Zalkin said to the San Diego Tribune. "Are [diocese officials] to be the sole judge and jury here? It's misleading when they say these are the credible claims; it insults the victims whose perpetrators are not listed."
The diocese provided two lists, one with San Diego and San Bernardino diocesan priests and another with religious priests or priests from other dioceses who served in San Diego or the Inland Empire. The lists merely tell when and where they served and say nothing about the allegations against them.
The vast majority of allegations involve priests who began their service in the 1950s (nine) and '60s (eleven), followed by those who began their service in the 1970s (six). The earliest allegation involves a priest who began serving in 1928.
Among diocesan priests, the diocesan list says eight were "removed," two laicized, two left the priesthood to be married, two left the diocese and were incardinated in a Mexican diocese, and one "left active ministry." Thirteen were marked "deceased."
Among the living named on the list, one, James Booth, who became an Episcopalian minister, told the Tribune that he denied any wrongdoing. Another, Franklyn Becker, who was defrocked by the Milwaukee archdiocese after 40 years of being a priest, said "I don't think I should be involved because it was a long, long time ago." Another former priest, Patrick McNamara, said the accusations were "crazy."
The San Diego diocesan web site provides as well a numbers breakdown of "currently pending instances of alleged abuse for each decade." They are as follows: for the 1930s, one allegation; 1940s, four allegations; 1950s, 40 allegations; 1960s, 44 allegations; 1970s, 42 allegations; 1980s, ten allegations; and the 1990s, two allegations.
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