Two Priests Remain in Limbo Despite DA Ending Investigation

By Ray Flanagan
Times Tribune
October 31, 2002

The Revs. Carlos Urrutigoity and Eric Ensey, members of the Society of St. John, remain in jeopardy of prosecution in other jurisdictions for their activities with a young man they met at St. Gregory's Academy in Elmhurst.

Since the investigations began last winter, the men have been living privately in Pike County and are forbidden to function as priests in public.

They also continue as defendants in a federal civil action brought by the man, who says they victimized him and his parents. The North Carolina residents are not named in the suit.

"These priests steadfastly maintain their innocence of these charges," Bishop James C. Timlin said Wednesday.

The Rev. Dominic E. O'Connor, a spokesman for the Society of St. John, was hopeful: "We hope the civil case will exonerate Fathers Ensey and Urrutigoity."

The two were not cleared of crimes in Lackawanna County; Mr. Jarbola said he could not prosecute because the statute of limitations had expired.

At the most, he explained, the actions described by the alleged victim would have reached the level of misdemeanors, which means the charges must be filed within two years. That time expired on May 16, 2001, he said.

Mr. Jarbola said he forwarded information on the case to law enforcement authorities in Monroe and Pike counties. Neither district attorney in those counties returned phone calls.

The Society of St. John has been based in Pike County for several years. The lawsuit does not explain the Monroe County connection.

Mr. Jarbola also sent information to authorities in Santa Paula, Calif., because the man alleged sexual misconduct while visiting Father Ensey's home there.

Members of the Society of St. John resided at St. Gregory's Academy in Elmhurst, Lackawanna County, from 1997 to 1999 and provided chaplaincy services to the students during the 1998-99 school year.


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