Priest Who Molested Teen Is Defrocked
Vatican Orders Ouster of Santa Rosa Cleric

By Bill Wallace
San Francisco Chronicle
January 29, 2003

A former Santa Rosa priest who is free on bail while his conviction for molesting a teenage girl parishioner is under appeal, has been stripped of his clerical standing by the Vatican, the Santa Rosa Diocese said Tuesday.

Donald Wren Kimball, 58, was defrocked by the pope last year as the result of internal proceedings brought by the Roman Catholic Church.

"I can confirm for you that Don Kimball was dismissed from the clerical ranks by a decree from the pope in November of last year that was received in late December by the diocese here in Santa Rosa," said Donald Galvan, the attorney who represents the Santa Rosa Diocese.

Dierdre Frontczak, a spokeswoman for Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel Walsh, said the action means Kimball "has been removed from the clerical state and no longer has the rights, responsibilities or duties of the priesthood."

"That is a permanent action," she said. "It is not subject to appeal. It is in effect (and) was in effect as soon as the Vatican signed the papers."

Frontczak said Walsh will have no comment on Kimball's removal as a priest. "I think probably the Vatican's action speaks for itself," she said.

Kimball, who lives in Healdsburg, could not be reached for comment.

Kimball was convicted of two counts of lewd conduct with a 13-year-old member of his parish last April and was sentenced to seven years in state prison. He has been free on bail while the U.S. Supreme Court hears an appeal of the state law used to convict him.

Kimball has faced a long series of accusations of sexual misconduct with underage female parishioners during his tenure as a youth minister in Santa Rosa.

He was found not guilty of raping a 14-year-old member of his parish in 1977, and later was named in a civil lawsuit that accused him of repeated acts of molestation. The suit was settled by the Santa Rosa Diocese for $1.8 million in April 2000.

Before Kimball was sentenced last spring, a psychological profile prepared for the court identified him as an untreatable pedophile who "is not a suitable candidate for sex offender treatment at this time."

Nevertheless, he was given a sentence only half as long as had been sought by prosecutor Gary Medvigy.

Kimball also still faces felony assault charges for allegedly attacking a Chronicle news photographer who was taking a picture of him in a hallway outside a courtroom in which he appeared last April


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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