Granger Pastor Accused of Sexual Abuse, Removed from Position
By Marie Schurk
June 12, 2017
A Granger pastor has been removed from his position in the Roman Catholic Church due to reports of sexual abuse of a minor.
Reverend Gustavo Gomez Santos, who was most recently the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, was permanently removed from all public ministry, according to a June 12 news release from the Yakima Diocese.
Gomez Santos, 51, was placed on leave May 5 after Yakima County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) detectives shared an interview from a 21-year-old former Mattawa resident with the Diocese.
The victim reported he was fondled by the priest while he was serving as pastor at St. Juan Diego Parish in Cowiche roughly five years ago.
The Diocese began an investigation after YCSO officials determined the incident could not be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations, reports said.
Reports said the priest denied the allegations during the investigation but admitted to other violations including letting minors stay overnight alone in his residence in several parishes, serving alcohol to minors, messaging minors and giving them expensive gifts, including trips to Disneyland.
Reports were made by a friend of the victim confirming the abuse was disclosed to him when they were teens and reports from other men said they were the recipients of gifts, massages and other inappropriate attention from the priest when they were teens.
The victim has been receiving counseling through the university he is attending, and will meet with diocesan officials to assure support from the Church.
Yakima Diocese Bishop Joseph Tyson will participate in a special Mass Wednesday, June 14, to pray for victims of sexual abuse according to the news release.
“I am deeply saddened that one of our priests has hurt this young man and others, and violated the community’s trust,” said Bishop Tyson.
The Diocese will make announcements encouraging the reporting of these incidents particularly in parishes served by Gomez Santos.
Gomez Santos is currently living in a supervised setting according to authorities.
The Diocese’s sexual abuse reporting hotline number is 1-888-276-4490