Bishop Warns Catholics about Suit
Molestation-Case Coverage Could Prove 'Disturbing'
By Barbara Ferry
August 1, 1994
Catholics may be disturbed by upcoming "distorted and sensational coverage" of a civil suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix involving a former priest who pleaded guilty to attempted child molestation in 1989.
That warning, contained in a letter to parishioners from Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien, was read from the pulpit by parish priests at all Masses in the Valley on Sunday.
In addition to the warning, O'Brien asked that all Catholics offer the church their prayers and support as the trial begins today in Maricopa County Superior Court.
The suit was filed by the parents of a boy who was molested by George Bredemann, who was then a priest. The suit claims the church was negligent in recruiting and retaining Bredemann.
Suits filed on behalf of two young brothers who also were victimized by Bredemann were settled out of court in 1991.
O'Brien's letter says the church has undertaken efforts to prevent child abuse and to help victims of molestation and their families.
But, the letter says, it is important "to protect the good name of the Catholic Church," and it was necessary to go to trial in this case because the "excessive demands" asked by the plaintiffs would jeopardize social services.
O'Brien could not be reached Sunday to amplify his comments. Priests contacted Sunday refused to comment.
Bredemann, formerly associate pastor of St. Catherine of Sienna Church in south Phoenix, was convicted in 1989 of three counts of attempted molestation of boys who were members of his parish. He admitted that he'd had sexual relations with children over a 16-year period. Bredemann was sentenced to one year in jail and lifetime probation.
He also was defrocked.
After his release from jail in 1990, Bredemann failed to report to his probation officer. He was arrested in Miami Beach, Fla., as he apparently was trying to flee to South America. In 1991, Bredemann was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
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