Glendale Deacon Resigns after Claim of Child Sex Abuse
By Michael Clancy
August 22, 2013
A Catholic deacon who worked at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Glendale for 10 years has resigned after he was accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
The allegation against Ron Gonzalez came to the diocese on Aug. 13. It referenced incidents that took place in Gonzalez’s previous postings in Texas and Pennsylvania 15 to 20 years ago. The name of the accuser and the nature of the incidents were not disclosed.
Gonzalez was removed from ministry immediately, a diocese spokesman said, and resigned from his job the next day. The pastor of St. Thomas More, the Rev. Jim Turner, informed parishioners during weekend masses, and the diocese posted a community notice on Monday.
Gonzalez, 62, assisted at St. Thomas More parish in Glendale since 2003 and was officially assigned to the parish in January 2011, after he retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where he had been working as a supervisory chaplain in Phoenix.
Gonzalez was named parish manager on May 1. There have been no reported allegations or incidents of any wrongdoing at St. Thomas More or elsewhere within the Diocese of Phoenix, according to the diocese official, Rob DeFrancesco.
A diocese statement said Gonzalez worked as a chaplain for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., from 1983 to 1999, and a supervisory chaplain for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the Diocese of Phoenix from 1999 to 2010. He was ordained as a deacon in Dallas in 1987.
It was unclear whether Gonzalez had a diaconate assignment from 1999 to 2003, when he began helping out at St. Thomas More.
Turner said Gonzalez assisted at Sunday Masses for a number of years before his formal appointment and taught several adult-education classes over the years as a volunteer.
“I do not believe he had much, if any, working contact with minors at the parish,” Turner said, noting that he was respected in the parish and was known as a good preacher.
The pastor said Gonzalez is married with two adult children.
A sex-abuse victims’ organization, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said Bishop Thomas Olmsted should disclose the reasons for Gonzalez’s assignment to Phoenix and his whereabouts.
Turner said Gonzalez currently is out of state visiting family.
Gonzalez initially came to Phoenix to take advantage of a promotion in the prison system, the diocese spokesman said.