Once Named As a Child-abuser, Former Diocese of Scranton Priest Is a Vicar General in Paraguay
By Joseph Kohut
March 15, 2014
A former Diocese of Scranton priest, accused more than a decade ago of abusing local children in a federal sexual abuse lawsuit, is now second-in-command of a diocese in Paraguay.
Monsignor Carlos Urrutigoity was described as vicar general of the Diocesis de Ciudad del Este in a database of accused priests recently released by BishopAccountability.org, which seeks to hold U.S. bishops accountable to "civil, criminal and cannon law" by acting as a cache of documents detailing abuse.
Urrutigoity has been vicar general since February, the website states. A review of the Paraguayan diocese website confirms the leadership position.
An email to Urrutigoity in Paraguay was not returned.
Urrutigoity was a member of the Society of St. John, which was housed in the former St. Gregory's Academy in Elmhurst before relocating to Shohola, Pike County. In 2002, a former academy student filed a federal suit against the then Revs. Urrutigoity and Eric Ensey claiming abuse. The Lackawanna County district attorney's office began a criminal investigation that same year, but decided that the statute of limitations periods had expired for filing a criminal case against them.
The diocese and the co-defendants in the federal suit settled for $380,000 in 2005. In November 2004, the diocese suppressed the society amidst the abuse case and financial problems but by 2006, they had been approved as a public association of the faithful in the Diocesis de Ciudad del Este in Paraguay.
The survivors network of those abused by priests, called SNAP, said transferring such clerics puts families and children at "great risk."
"Transferring predator priests to different diocese or countries is dreadfully irresponsible but sadly, nothing new," David Clohessy, SNAP director, said.
In an email late Friday, Diocese spokesman Bill Genello said then-Bishop of Scranton, the Most Reverend Joseph Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D., took the necessary steps to suppress the Society of Saint John and to deal with the priests of the extinguished Society.
"In every instance, Bishop Martino clearly expressed his reservations concerning Father Urrutigoity, who was identified as posing a serious threat to young people," Genello wrote. "Bishop Martino also carefully and consistently expressed his grave doubts about this cleric's suitability for priestly ministry and cautioned the Bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay to not allow Father Urritigoity to incardinate into his diocese.
"Despite these serious cautions, Bishop Rogelio Liviers informed the Diocese of Scranton that he was allowing Father Urrutigoity to incardinate into his Paraguay diocese."