6 More Clerics Named As Child Abusers
By Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)
March 30, 2003
Three are deceased; 25 now are accused in Tucson diocese
The Catholic Diocese of Tucson on Saturday released the names of five more priests and a deacon with "credible accusations" of child molestation against them.
The new names bring to 25 the number of clerics - 24 priests and the deacon - on the diocese's public list of clerics who have accusations of child abuse against them - accusations that Catholic officials believe to be true.
The men are the Rev. Kevin Barmasse, the Rev. Richard Butler, the Rev. George Dyke, the Rev. Richard Judd, and the Rev. Francis Miller. The deacon named was Ray Miranda. Butler, Dyke and Judd are deceased.
All worked in the diocese 12 or more years ago.
The most recent was Barmasse, a priest with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who worked at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Mammoth between 1988 and 1991 and was hired by local diocese officials in 1983 even though they knew he already had an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against him from Los Angeles.
In a letter to Catholic parishioners and clergy this weekend, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas made the unprecedented statement that diocese officials knew about the sexual abuse allegations yet apparently did not report the abuse to law enforcement, nor did they remove the clergymen from ministry.
"By the standards of the time, the individuals making these decisions believed they were acting in the best interests of the church and society," Kicanas wrote in the letter, which is titled, "Proceeding Honestly on Our Journey Towards Forgiveness." "Many health professionals believed that it was possible to treat successfully those who abused minors so that they could continue in ministry."
Kicanas further said many civil and church authorities once believed it was in the best interests of everyone, including the child, not to prosecute sexual abusers.
"As a church and as a society, we recognize today that such actions led to even more tragic consequences," Kicanas said.
None of the six is on the diocese payroll. In the letter to parishioners, Kicanas says none of the priests is serving in ministry.
The release of the names came on the recommendation of the diocese's new Sexual Misconduct Review Board, a 12-member committee of lay people and clergy chaired by Carondelet Health Network Vice President Dr. Jose Santiago. The panel was formed in reaction to the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church nationwide, including Tucson.
Barmasse, whose whereabouts are unknown to diocesan officials and who is believed to be alive, also worked at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista and at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, 8650 N. Shannon Road. Officials with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not return a phone call seeking information about Barmasse.
In his letter, Kicanas said the Diocese of Tucson accepted Barmasse for ministry with the understanding that he would receive treatment. Documents show he got treatment and the professional who treated him believed the priest would be able to minister safely, yet also predicted a cautious future for him.
Kicanas said Barmasse should not have been allowed to minister in Tucson or anywhere else, and that such an arrangement would not be allowed today.
"I realize that for many the release of more names elicits a sense of burden," Kicanas wrote. "There may be a feeling that we have dwelt on these matters for too long. There is a desire to 'get past it' or to 'move on.' . . . There is hope, but it is not the hope that all our sins our now behind us.
"Our hope is in the truth and in the forgiveness that has been given us in Christ."
The other living men on the new list are Miller, who worked at St. Margaret Mary Parish Church, 801 N. Grande Ave., and Miranda, who worked at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista from 1982 until his suspension from ministry in 1983.
Miller, a member of the Carmelite religious order, is now living in a nursing facility in the Washington, D.C., area, according to diocese officials.
Kicanas became bishop of the diocese last month after former Bishop Manuel D. Moreno took early retirement at age 72.
Moreno, who became bishop in 1982, cited health problems as the reason for his retirement, yet also acknowledged the past year had put a tremendous strain on him. Last year the diocese settled 11 lawsuits with 16 plaintiffs for an amount estimated by experts to be as high as $16 million. The plaintiffs alleged that four members of the local clergy abused them during the 1960s, '70s and '80s.
Moreno was one of at least six American Catholic bishops who have stepped down since last year, when the sexual abuse crisis in the U.S. Catholic Church was uncovered in Boston and led to revelations of abuse and cover-up in dioceses across the country.
To have 24 priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse against them in a diocese the size of Tucson is disturbing, said attorney Lynne M. Cadigan. She represented the 10 men in last year's settlement and has three more civil actions pending against the diocese.
The Catholic Diocese of Tucson includes 350,000 Catholics and has 83 active priests.
"I think it calls into question the celibacy issue," Cadigan said. "Anyone with any sort of sexual issues would have been attracted to the priesthood in the past. It was a safe haven for people with sexual problems. I think it's still going on, but not at the same rate as in the past."
Cadigan said she has spoken with one man who she believes was abused by Barmasse. But the man did not have repressed memory about the incident, so she was unable to file a lawsuit.
Under state law, only men who say they have repressed memory about the abuse are allowed to take legal action. The statute of limitations on civil cases prevents other men who say they were victimized in the past from filing suit.
Who they are
The five priests and one deacon whose names were released by the local diocese Saturday are:
The Rev. Kevin Barmasse
Barmasse was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1982. He remained a priest of that archdiocese during the time of his assignments in the Diocese of Tucson. He left the diocese in 1991.
Barmasse's assignments were at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista from 1983 to 1986, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson between 1986 and 1988 and at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Mammoth between 1988 and 1991.
The Rev. Richard Butler
Butler was a priest with the religious order of Dominicans who died in 1988. He worked at the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center at the University of Arizona between 1968 and 1974.
The Rev. George Dyke
Dyke was a diocesan priest who was ordained in 1946 and died in 1971. His request to be laicized or defrocked - a process that means removal from the priesthood - was granted by the Vatican in 1968.
Dyke worked at Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas between 1946 and 1949, at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson between 1951 and 1953, at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, 4725 E. Pima St., between 1951 and 1953, at Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton between 1953 and 1961 and at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista between 1961 and 1965.
The Rev. Richard Judd
Judd was ordained a priest for the Servants of the Holy Paraclete in 1964 and died in 1988.
Diocese of Tucson officials did not have much information on Judd's history in the diocese except that he apparently lived in Tucson during the 1970s and had an employment relationship with Salpointe Catholic High School. Diocese officials said he also provided some priestly ministry.
The Rev. Francis Miller
Miller was ordained a priest for the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1949, left the diocese in 1963 and now lives in a retirement facility owned by the Discalced Carmelites. He worked at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson between 1955 and 1963.
Deacon Ray Miranda
Miranda was ordained to the permanent diaconate in 1982 for service to St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista. Miranda was suspended from all ministry in 1983 and has not been allowed to function as a deacon since then. He served as a deacon at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish from 1982 until his suspension.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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