Three Priests Expected to Be Sentenced This Summer on Abuse Convictions

Associated Press
May 3, 2003

Tucson, Ariz. — Three priests who worked in the Catholic Diocese of Tucson are scheduled to be sentenced this summer after being convicted separately of sexual improprieties involving minors.

David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said that the convictions and upcoming sentences are good news.

"It's encouraging because so many of them never, ever are criminally charged," Clohessy told The Arizona Daily Star.

Rev. Julan Sanz, 53, is scheduled to appear in Cochise County Superior court on May 29 for sentencing on two counts of sexual abuse. Sanz, the pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Douglas, was arrested in February.

Rev. Thomas Purcell, 61, is expected to be sentenced on June 9 in Pima County Superior Court on three counts of attempted sexual assault. Convicted in absentia, he was arrested last month in Illinois. His sentence could range from five to 42 years in prison.

Rev. Juan Guillen, 59, is expected to be sentenced this summer after being convicted of two counts of attempted child molestation. His sentence could range from 5 to 15 years in prison.

Guillen is a former associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Yuma. He is being held in the Yuma County Jail.

Catholic Diocese of Tucson spokesman Fred Allison said the cases of Sanz and Guillen are particularly troubling to church leaders.

Some of the allegations are said to have occurred just last year, in the midst of a barrage of media coverage of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

Allison said that although the two cases are sad and painful, the diocese did the right thing and reported the allegations about both priests immediately to authorities.

But many parishioners are voicing support for their priests, despite the allegations and convictions.

Parishioners at Guillen's church, for example, last summer posted the required 10 percent of his $108,023 bail amount and were able to get him released from jail.

Upon his conviction, he was taken into police custody.


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