2 Call Priest at Central Arizona Church a Molester

By Irene Hsiao
Tucson Citizen
April 12, 2003

Two men have filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Tucson, alleging that an associate pastor at a central Arizona church sexually abused them more than three decades ago.

Using the names James and John Doe instead of their own in the lawsuit, the brothers and former altar boys accused the late Rev. Robert A. Gluch of molesting them in the sacristy after Mass and in the rectory at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church of Miami from 1968 to 1970.

Other incidents occurred in Gluch's car while he was on church-related business, the suit said.

The sex abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church has affected churches nationwide.

The suit, filed in Pima County Superior Court on Wednesday, alleges sexual abuse by the clergy and is the seventh against the Tucson diocese.

The diocese released a report in January showing it had spent more than $1.5 million in the past 10 years on counseling, treatment, sustenance of priests and legal costs of priests accused of sexual misconduct.

That does not include the estimated $15 million the diocese paid in February to settle 11 lawsuits filed by former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by priests in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

In 1968, the Diocese of Tucson sent Gluch for treatment for "sexual improprieties" that he had committed with boys at St. Gregory's Church and Parish in Phoenix, where he was an associate pastor, according to the suit. He died in 1993, he suit said.

The suit also said the Tucson diocese had been notified of Gluch's history but still allowed him to supervise altar boys and be alone with boy parishioners.

The plaintiffs were members of the church's youth group and attended its parish school. John Doe repressed the memories of the abuse until last year, when he heard news reports about allegations of priests in the Tucson diocese molesting boys, the suit said. James Doe recalled the memories after John Doe asked him about it, the suit said.

Fred Allison, the diocese's spokesman, said that he has not seen the suit yet but that an attorney had contacted him about it about a month ago.


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