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  Abusive Priest Forcibly Retired
Seminary, Parish Sites of Abuse

By Mark Bowes and Alberta Lindsey
Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)
August 8, 2002

A Charlottesville priest was removed from the ministry after a man he sexually abused as a teen in the 1970s demanded that the Catholic Diocese of Richmond publicly disclose what he first reported in 1994.

The Rev. Julian Goodman, 56, pastor of Holy Comforter Church, was retired from his priestly duties "effective immediately" after he met Tuesday with the Most Rev. Walter F. Sullivan, bishop of the Diocese of Richmond.

The diocese said Sullivan asked the priest to retire for sexually abusing James Kronzer, 40, who now lives in Washington. The abuse occurred over a three-year period beginning in 1976 when Goodman was a priest and Kronzer was a student at St. John Vianney Seminary in Goochland County.

The abuse continued for a year after the seminary closed in 1978 and Goodman was assigned to St. Ann Church in Colonial Heights.

Sullivan's action came five months after he wrote in the March issue of the Catholic Virginian that priests who abuse children will "never be tolerated, passed over or excused." Sullivan did not attend yesterday's news conference on the removal, and attempts to reach him last night at his home were unsuccessful.

Kronzer said he contacted church officials in June, in part because of statements coming from the Richmond Diocese and Sullivan that suggested this area remained unaffected by the sex-abuse scandal engulfing the U.S. Catholic Church.

"My hope is that by bringing this case to light, the people of the Diocese of Richmond will realize that this is not just a problem elsewhere but something that has occurred here at home," Kronzer said yesterday in a phone interview. "My concern was that the Diocese of Richmond was not being completely candid when speaking of sexual abuse by clergy."

Several efforts to reach Goodman yesterday were unsuccessful.

Another former St. John Vianney faculty member, the Rev. John E. Leonard, was reinstated in June as pastor of St. Michael Catholic Church in Glen Allen after being removed from priestly duties while allegations of sexual misconduct were investigated. Three of Leonard's former students made the allegations, which Leonard denied.

Kronzer's 1994 allegation against Goodman was handled under the old diocesan guidelines, the Rev. Pasquale J. Apuzzo, diocesan spokesman, said yesterday at a news conference.

The case against Goodman was different from the case against Leonard because Leonard denied any wrongdoing and Goodman admitted the allegations, Apuzzo said. Therefore, when Kronzer contacted the diocese again this summer, the matter was not referred to the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Panel, Apuzzo added.

The 1994 allegations were not made public at that time at Kronzer's request, Apuzzo said.

The diocese will be responsible for supporting Goodman in retirement, Apuzzo said. But Goodman will not be allowed to preach or carry out any of the duties that other retired priests can. He cannot wear the collar of the priest in public, Apuzzo said.

Kronzer, who designs theater sets in the Washington area, said he was encouraged by Goodman to touch and fondle the priest's genitals when the two were alone together in Goodman's quarters at both the seminary and the parish. Kronzer said he was 14 when the abuse began.

"The way it started was so benign," Kronzer said yesterday. "The euphemism that he used was, 'Just rub my stomach, just rub my stomach.' " Goodman would then ask him to rub a "little lower, a little lower" until Kronzer reached the priest's genitals.

"Before you know it, [I'm thinking], 'Wait a minute, this started off' " as something innocent, Kronzer said. But the rubbing led to masturbation, although Kronzer said he did not recall the priest fondling or touching him.

Kronzer said he first reported the abuse in 1994, and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond agreed to pay for his twice-weekly mental therapy sessions since then. More recently, Kronzer said the diocese agreed to pay him an undisclosed lump sum he will use to continue his counseling.

Kronzer declined to disclose the amount, but he said the sum will allow him to pay for his counseling sessions "for a finite period of time."

Kronzer, who is openly gay, said the abuse he suffered as a teen did not influence his sexual orientation.

He said he met Goodman "face to face" about two years into his therapy, and the priest acknowledged the abuse and apologized. The diocese yesterday said Goodman, a priest for 36 years, "repeated his deep regret and remorse" to Sullivan on Tuesday.

After Kronzer reported the abuse in 1994, Sullivan immediately placed Goodman on administrative leave from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Norfolk, where he was serving as pastor. Goodman was then sent for "treatment and assessment" for two months at Villa St. John Vianney Hospital in Downington, Pa., the diocese said.

"Bishop Sullivan received assurances that Father Goodman was not a risk to others," the diocese said in a statement. Goodman returned to Norfolk and spent the next 1 1/2 years in outpatient therapy, the diocese said.

Since 1994, Goodman has been sharing the costs of Kronzer's counseling, the diocese said.

At the time, Kronzer said he was satisfied with the diocese's actions. But he said he felt compelled to come forward in June as the national sex-abuse scandal deepened within the church.

He said he was also troubled by statements coming from the Richmond diocese that suggested a problem did not exist here.

"As more and more cases are reported and the problem has been shown to be more widespread, it has stirred up for me old wounds and pain," Kronzer said, "and a desire to state publicly what has happened to me."

Kronzer contacted the diocese on June 19 and then agreed to meet with Monsignor Robert Perkins, vicar general of the diocese, on June 28 in Fredericksburg.

"I wanted to find out how the diocese would be implementing the newfound guidelines that were discussed in Dallas," Kronzer said, "and to express to him my concern over my perception that the diocese was pretending that I didn't exist, at least in its public statements."

Kronzer said Perkins suggested he also meet with Sullivan, and Kronzer did so on Monday. Kronzer's parents and partner accompanied him.

Both Kronzer and the diocese said Sullivan expressed his concern and sympathy to Kronzer and his parents for the abuse that had occurred.

The diocese said Sullivan acted on Kronzer's allegations in 1994 in accordance "to the principles then in force from the bishops' conference." Sullivan "is now acting on current norms that were set down by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at their meeting in Dallas," the diocese said.

 
 

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