16 O.C. Priests Cited As Abusers
The Diocese Has Named 15 of the Accused in the Cases Alleged to Have Occurred from 1976 to 2002

By Bill Rams
Orange County Register
January 13, 2004

Sixteen Orange County priests have been accused of child molestation in cases dating to 1976, including three named publicly for the first time.

In a statement released last week, the Diocese of Orange provided the names of 15 of the accused clergymen.

The 16th, who died before the allegation was made, was not identified at the victim's request, officials said.

The former Revs. Franklin Buckman, Santino Casamino and Edgardo Arrunataegui Jiminez had not been publicly accused before the news release.

Few details were available about the former priests. Buckman is retired and has moved to Oregon, said diocesan spokesman the Rev. Joseph Fenton. No details were available about Casamino or Jiminez other than "these are cases we dealt with years ago," Fenton said.

The other accused priests are Christian Anderson, Richard Coughlin, Robert Foley, Michael Harris, John Kenney, John Lenihan, Denis Lyons, Gary Pacheco, Michael Pecharich, Henry Perez, Eleuterio Ramos and Seigfried Widera.

The priests are accused of molesting 47 children from 1976 to 2002. The Orange County numbers were sent to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which is compiling a national study on the issue.

According to the diocese, 12 priests have been removed and two are on administrative leave; they are not allowed to minister.

Another left to serve as a military chaplain for 22 years before the allegation was made, and the other priest is dead.

The 16 accused priests represent 2.8 percent of the 589 clergy who have ministered here since 1976.

The number of accused priests could be higher come February, when the deadline for sexual abuse lawsuits expires, Fenton said.


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