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  15 Accused Have Tucson Ties

Arizona Daily Star
June 22, 2002

These 15 priests with the Catholic Diocese of Tucson have had child sexual abuse allegations made against them, the diocese said Friday:

Rev. William Byrne - Died in 1991. The diocese learned of allegations from lawsuits filed from 1999 to 2001. Prior to his death and the suits, the diocese said it was not aware of any allegations. Assignments: SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson (1952); Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Miami (1952-53); Immaculate Conception, Douglas (1953-56); St. Ambrose, Tucson (1956); Regina Cleri Seminary, Tucson (1956-62); St. Henry, Buckeye and Gila Bend area, Mission Trailer Apostolate (1962-64); St. Jerome, Phoenix (1964-67); Christ the King, Mesa (1967); Sacred Heart, Clifton (1967-71); St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma, (1971-75); Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson (1975-81); Vocations, Diocese of Tucson (1981-85); St. Ambrose, Tucson (1985- 91).

Rev. Patrick J. Callanan - Died in 1975. The diocese said it received an allegation this month. Callanan's assignments: Holy Angels, Globe (1952-57); Sacred Heart, Nogales (1957-61); St. Theresa, Patagonia (1961-63); SS. Simon and Jude, Phoenix (1963-64).

Rev. Carlos B. Cocio, 46 - Suspended from ministry in 1993 after allegations of sexual misconduct with an adult. In 1993, the diocese was notified by a parent about another allegation concerning a child that was reported to the Pima County Sheriff's Department in 1989. The diocese said Pima County prosecutors elected not to prosecute. Cocio could not be reached for comment. Assignments: St. Luke, Douglas (1983-88); Our Lady of Fatima, Tucson (1988-92); St. James, Coolidge (1992-93).

Rev. Robert Gluch - Died in 1993. The diocese said it is aware of child abuse allegations. Assignments: St. Gregory, Phoenix (1964- 68); Blessed Sacrament, Miami (1968-72); St. Joseph, Tucson (1972- 75); Sacred Heart, Clifton (1975-76); St. Andrew, Sierra Vista (1976- 81); St. Patrick, Bisbee (1981-83); St. Odilia, Tucson (1984-93).

Msgr. John A. Oliver, 76 - Retired in 2000 and suspended from ministry in May 2002. A child abuse allegation was reported to law enforcement in Pima County in 1967, the diocese said. Oliver pleaded guilty and completed probation, the diocese said. Repeated attempts to contact him this week were unsuccessful. Assignments: Queen of Peace, Mesa (1952-54); St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson (1954-56); St. Luke, Douglas (1956); All Saints, Tucson, (1958-60); St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson (1960-67); St. Philip, Payson (1968-69); Immaculate Conception, Yuma (1969-81); St. Theresa, Patagonia (1981-87); Sacred Heart, Nogales (1987-95); St. Jude, Pearce-Sunsites (1995-2000).

Rev. Lucien Munier de la Pierre - Thought to have died in the 1980s. The diocese learned of child abuse allegations from lawsuits filed from 1998-2001. De la Pierre came to the Diocese of Tucson in 1974 and was granted faculties to perform ministry in 1974. He was never formally assigned to a parish. Service in 1974 and 1975 included: St. Joseph, Hayden; St. Joseph, Wellton; Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson.

Rev. Thomas Purcell, 61 - The diocese said Purcell is no longer in active ministry. Efforts to contact him were unsuccessful. Assignments: St. Odilia, Tucson (1982-83); Sacred Heart, Nogales (1983-84).

Msgr. Walter F. Rosensweig, 76 - Suspended in 1996 over a child abuse allegation. The diocese reached an undisclosed settlement with his accuser in 1997. Rosensweig retired last year. When contacted by telephone, he had no comment. Assignments: Sacred Heart, Nogales (1953); St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson (1953-62); St. Patrick, Bisbee (1962-65); St. Monica, Tucson (1965-66); St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson (1967-69); St. Rose of Lima, Safford (1969-72); Sacred Heart, Nogales (Tubac, Amado, Rio Rico) (1972-96).

Rev. Charles Rourke - Died in 1993. Suspended from ministry in 1984 for alcohol-related reasons. The diocese said it became aware of child abuse allegations after Rourke's death. Rourke's assignments: St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson (1958); Immaculate Conception, Douglas (1958-60); Queen of Peace, Mesa (1960-61); St. Joseph, Tucson (1961-62); All Saints, Tucson (1962-65); Newman Center, Tucson (1966- 68); St. Monica, Tucson (1968-69); Leave of Absence and Archdiocese of Santa Fe (1969-73); Sacred Heart, Nogales, (1973-75); Leave of Absence (1975-81); St. Andrew, Sierra Vista (1981-84).

Rev. Clemens Schlueter, 70 - Retired in 1990. Suspended from ministry in 1997 after the diocese learned of a child abuse allegation related to assignments in the 1960s. He could not be reached. Assignments: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Scottsdale (1961- 63); St. Daniel, Scottsdale (1963-65); Arizona State Prison Chaplain, Florence (1965-69); Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Scottsdale (1970- 75); Our Lady of Fatima, Tucson (1976-77); Sacred Heart, Parker (1977- 82); Arizona Correctional Training Center Chaplain, Tucson (1982- 85); St. Helen Mission, Oracle (1986-90).

Rev. Steven G. Stencil, 50 - Suspended from ministry in 2001 after violating a diocesan policy forbidding priests from staying overnight with minors. In February 2002, the diocese received a child abuse allegation against Stencil and reported it to the Casa Grande police. The allegation remains under investigation. Stencil is not commenting because of the pending investigation. Assignments: Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Miami (1981-84); Sacred Heart, Clifton (1984-86); Vocations, Diocese of Tucson (1986-89); St. Anthony's, Casa Grande (1989-99); St. Mark the Evangelist, Tucson (1999-2001).

Rev. Daniel J. Taylor, 55 - Suspended in 1999 after the diocese was made aware by the Diocese of Erie of child abuse allegations related to his service there. The diocese said it is not aware of any allegation related to his service in Tucson. In a statement to the Star, Taylor said he had no memories concerning the allegations and that he was unable to question his accusers.

"It would seem that a person would know what the other person said so you could ask questions," Taylor said. He questioned the diocese's characterization of the allegations as "child abuse."

"I had taken some people on a vacation with me and they claimed that during the night I touched them," Taylor said, adding that one adult and two teen-agers were on the trip.

Taylor said he still considers himself a priest though he is not allowed to perform public ministry, and he doesn't know what will happen next.

Assignments: St. Frances Cabrini, Tucson (1981); St. Francis, Superior (1984-85); St. Rose of Lima, Safford (1985); Sacred Heart, Parker (1985-88); Assumption, Florence (1988-91); Holy Angels, Globe (1991-96); St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma (1996-99).

Rev. Michael Teta, 54 - Suspended from ministry in 1991 after allegations of sexual misconduct with an adult. The diocese said it learned of child abuse allegations from lawsuits filed from 1999 to 2002. The alleged abuse related to his assignments at Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson. His Tucson phone was recently disconnected. Assignments: Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson (1978-80); St. Rose of Lima, Safford (1980-82); St. Francis, Superior (1986-88).

Rev. Robert R. Thomas, 70 - Retired in 1995. Suspended from ministry in May after the Diocese of Toledo confirmed that he had pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The diocese said it is not aware of any allegation related to his service in Tucson. He could not be reached for comment. Assignments: Our Lady of the Valley, Green Valley (1986-87); Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson (1987-95); he also served at Catalina Mission from 1995 through May 2002.

Msgr. Robert C. Trupia, 54 - Suspended in 1992 over a child abuse allegation. The diocese said it learned of additional allegations from lawsuits filed from 1997 to 2001. Trupia maintains his innocence. Assignments: St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma (1973-76); Tribunal, Diocese of Tucson (1976-92). While assigned to the Tribunal, Trupia also provided ministry at various times at parishes in Tucson, including St. Thomas the Apostle, Our Mother of Sorrows and St. Francis de Sales.

One priest responds

The Rev. Daniel Taylor is one of 15 priests in the Catholic Diocese of Tucson who have had "credible" accusations of child sexual abuse lodged against them, the diocese said Friday. Taylor provided this statement Friday to the Star.

About 3 years ago I was accused of sexual misconduct which had allegedly occurred some 20 years ago in another diocese before I came to the Diocese of Tucson. It was something that was totally unexpected. I have no memories concerning these allegations. At that time Bishop Moreno transferred me to administrative leave. I was not permitted to contact my accusers in any way. I was left in the difficult position of not being able to defend myself in any meaningful way. In America one is said to be innocent until proven guilty. No one has ever brought criminal charges against me or sued me, nor have I ever been found guilty of ever hurting or abusing anyone at anytime in my life. It seems that with allegations of a sexual nature one is presumed guilty until he is able to prove his innocence. In fact once such accusations are made public, life can never be the same because in the minds of some, guilt is automatically assumed.

The Church is going through a terrible crucible and countless numbers of people are in horrific pain. Victims are hurting, Priests and Bishops who have never hurt anyone are suspect and the moral authority of our bishops has been decimated. The whole tragedy seems to gain momentum every day. But perhaps it is something that the Church really needs to experience. Maybe from this crucible we can emerge stronger and more focused on the things that really matter. It seems that one of the things we as Catholics need to consider is that holiness and trustworthiness are not conferred with a church title like father, or bishop, or cardinal. Rather trustworthiness and holiness arise from within a person and are identified readily in the way that person loves people and responds to their needs and how effective he is at inviting God to be the center of his life.

Bishop Moreno needed to do what he did if our diocese is to shake off this awful burden and grow from the experience. If you know him you will recognize that he is a humble person simply trying to do the best he can for his people, his priests, and the whole church. His goodness and trustworthiness do not stem from the fact that he is The Most Reverend Manuel Moreno, Bishop of Tucson, but that he is simply Manuel Moreno a good and holy person who happens to be our bishop.

This experience hurts more than I can ever describe to anyone in words. A priest friend offered some consolation when he said to me: For those who do not know you no explanation will ever be sufficient. For those who know you well, and what your life is about, no explanation is necessary. If I have hurt anyone in any way knowingly or unknowingly I apologize to them, to all the priests and people of our diocese and to our bishops, and I seek their forgiveness.

 
 

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