Ex-Priest Arrested in Fresno : Scandal: San Bernardino County Authorities Say Four People Claim He Molested Them in the '60s

By Michael Fisher
Press Enterprise
February 27, 2003

A former Glendale priest accused of molesting four children at a family-owned Lake Gregory cabin 36 years ago was arrested Wednesday by sheriff's deputies at his Fresno therapy office.

Donald G. Farmer, 65, faces 14 felony counts of child molestation, San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies said.

Farmer was assigned to Holy Family Church in Glendale from 1966 to 1969, and was defrocked in 1972, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It was unclear whether Farmer had been voluntarily laicized, said Tod Tamberg, the archdiocese spokesman.

There is no indication that Farmer ever worked as a priest in the Inland area, said the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the Diocese of San Bernardino.

State records show that Farmer obtained his marriage and family therapist license from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences in 1970.

Farmer, whose bail was set at $ 100,000, was being held Wednesday at the Fresno County Jail. He could not be reached for comment.

His arrest caps a seven-month investigation launched after a man told deputies in Twin Peaks that he had been molested as a boy by Farmer, according to sheriff's spokesman Chip Patterson.

Detectives located three additional people -- a man and two women -- who all claimed that Farmer took them to his family's Crestline cabin at Lake Gregory in the San Bernardino Mountains and molested them between 1966 and 1967, Patterson said.

All were under the age of 13 when the alleged attacks occurred, Patterson said.

"Through his work as a priest, he became a trusted member of these families and then was able to get the children into a position where he molested them," Patterson said.

Fresno County sheriff's deputies took Farmer into custody. San Bernardino County sheriff's detectives expect to transport Farmer back to the area in coming days, Patterson said.


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