Abusive Priest Resigns in VA
Victim Was Student in '70s Who Now Wants Case to Be Public
By Steven G. Vegh
August 8, 2002
The Rev. Julian B. Goodman, a Roman Catholic priest who pastored a Norfolk parish throughout the 1990s, has been permanently barred from the ministry for sexually abusing a student at a boys high school in Goochland in the 1970s, the diocese said Wednesday.
Bishop Walter F. Sullivan demanded Goodman's resignation after the victim, James Kronzer of Washington, D.C., asked the diocese on Monday to make the case public. Goodman has been the pastor of Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville since 1999.
Sullivan has known about the abuse since 1994, when Kronzer first informed the Diocese of Richmond of the misconduct that occurred at St. John Vianney Seminary, where he was a student from 1976 to 1978. The seminary, where Goodman directed the music program, closed in 1978.
Kronzer said he was forced by Goodman to rub the priest's stomach and genitals. He considered Goodman his mentor, he said, and the priest had once vacationed with Kronzer's family in New Hampshire.
The abuse continued in 1979 during visits by Kronzer to Saint Ann parish in Colonial Heights, Va., where Goodman was the pastor. Kronzer was attending a nearby Catholic high school at the time.
The incidents ended after Kronzer moved with his family to England. He kept the abuse a secret until 1994, when he mentioned it casually to a friend, who urged him to take action.
After Kronzer's disclosure in 1994, Sullivan sent Goodman to a Downington, Pa., hospital for two months of treatment.
Goodman received outpatient therapy for another 1 1/2 years while serving as parish priest at Blessed Sacrament in Norfolk.
Lawrence G. Dotolo, a Blessed Sacrament parishioner, recalled Goodman as an excellent musician and a "very spiritual" priest. There were no indications that Goodman had a history of sexual abuse.
"That would never cross my mind, to be honest. He was just a very nice person, very quiet," Dotolo said.
Kronzer, now a 40-year-old theater set designer, has received counseling since 1994, paid for by Goodman and the diocese.
He said Wednesday that for years he wanted his experience to remain private. He said that the diocese had treated his story as truthful and that Goodman had admitted the abuse in 1994 to the diocese.
But Kronzer changed his view about publicity earlier this year after reading that Sullivan's spokesman had declared that the diocese had no priests with a history of abuse.
"That's one of my reasons for stepping forward: There is a history of this happening in the diocese, contrary to what the diocese would lead you to believe," Kronzer said.
"My other objective is to give courage to those (victims) who might still be out there, and give them the courage to speak publicly."
Kronzer said his experience of abuse also victimized his parents, which is why they came with him to meet Sullivan on Monday. "No one from the diocese ever reached out to my parents to either acknowledge what happened or to even apologize," Kronzer said.
Kronzer said the diocese agreed on Monday that it would stop paying for his therapy but would provide a lump sum to cover counseling for him for several more years.
"There was no gesture to compensate me for anything else: for my pain, for my suffering, the silence I sat in and endured all those years."
Kronzer said, however, that he will not sue the diocese.
According to a news release from the diocese, Goodman met with Sullivan on Tuesday and said he had stayed celibate for the last 26 years of his 36 years as a priest.
As part of his forced retirement from ministry, Goodman will be barred from saying Mass in public and from wearing his clerical collar in public.
The news release stated that the steps Sullivan took in 1994 complied with guidelines promulgated at the time by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The conference adopted far more stringent guidelines at a June meeting in Dallas, and Sullivan applied those new rules this week against Goodman, the diocese stated.
Kronzer said diocesan officials had told him they were careful not to place Goodman in positions where he would be ministering to youth.
The incidents involving Kronzer took place at the same school - St. John Vianney - that has been at the focus of the diocese's recent investigation of another priest, the Rev. John E. Leonard.
In April this year, three other former Vianney students told the diocese that they had been abused by Leonard, who joined the school's faculty in 1968 and was its rector, or principal, from 1974 until Vianney closed.
Leonard, who was principal of Catholic High School in Norfolk for five years until 1992 and now pastors St. Michael Catholic Church outside Richmond, has denied any misconduct.
After an investigation, Sullivan declared that Leonard's behavior at Vianney had "blurred boundaries" and was "imprudent" but not abusive.
Sullivan said psychological tests also yielded no evidence that Leonard was a sex abuser. But the bishop's handling of the Leonard case has raised protests on the diocese's Sexual Abuse Panel. Four members have quit, several of whom complained that Sullivan exonerated the priest without their input.
Bill Bryant of Arizona, one of the former Vianney students who came forward this spring, said Wednesday that he was not surprised by the accusations involving Goodman.
"I'm grateful that more men are stepping forward with the truth about what happened to them while they were at St. John Vianney," he said. "It's my impression, having been at the seminary, that there were more (victims)."
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