BishopAccountability.org
 
  Diocese Restores Retired Priest
Church: The Rev. Covas Had Been Removed Two Years Ago after Sex Abuse Allegations Surfaced

By Michael Fisher
Press Enterprise [Riverside]
April 21, 2004

The Rev. Peter Covas, a longtime Inland priest accused in pending lawsuits of molesting two boys nearly 30 years ago, has been reinstated as a retired priest in good standing by Bishop Gerald Barnes, leader of the two-county Diocese of San Bernardino.

In April 2002, Barnes removed Covas as pastor at St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Rancho Cucamonga after decades-old allegations of sexual abuse surfaced against the priest. The accusations by two men sparked a yearlong criminal investigation that ended in April 2003, when San Bernardino County prosecutors announced they would not file charges against Covas, now 73.

"Bishop Barnes advises the faithful of the diocese that all civil and ecclesiastical inquiries have been concluded in the case involving Reverend Peter Covas," Monsignor Gerard M. Lopez, the diocese's vicar general, wrote in an April 16 memo issued to priests and pastoral officials in the million-member diocese.

"Recently, Father Covas was notified that he is now free to exercise his priestly ministry in the diocese."

Covas, who retired in 2002, could not be located for comment Tuesday. His four decades in the region included stints as principal of Notre Dame Catholic High School in Riverside and as the longtime pastor of St. Catherine Catholic Church, the city's largest parish.

Anthony DeMarco, attorney for the two men suing the diocese over accusations that Covas molested them in the 1970s, expressed amazement Tuesday when told Covas was reinstated. DeMarco said his clients were not interviewed by the diocese.

"This is perplexing that they would clear someone without doing an investigation," DeMarco said by phone. "I would seriously question the level of investigation they performed to arrive at that conclusion."

Diocese spokesman the Rev. Howard Lincoln said Tuesday, without supplying details, that Barnes' decision came after a "thorough review and investigation."

DeMarco said the lawsuits were filed in December. In one, a man claims he was 14 years old when Covas began sexually abusing him in 1975, and that it lasted until 1980. In the other, the accuser claims he was about 15 years old in 1970 when Covas began abusing him, DeMarco said.

Prosecutors who reviewed the men's allegations last year cited concerns about the accusers' credibility.

Authorities have said that one accuser had complained to the diocese that he and Covas had an intimate relationship, but he later recanted his allegations, prosecutors said. That man, who has since renewed his accusations, led authorities to the second man, who is in prison serving a robbery sentence, prosecutors said at the time.

The names of Covas' accusers have not been released.

Lincoln was unsure if Covas, who spent several weeks in an Upland hospital this year battling a lung disorder, had returned to ministry. As a retired priest, Covas will be allowed to perform weddings, funerals and baptisms, and to help at Mass, Lincoln said.

Covas was pastor at St. Peter and St. Paul for 12 years. He spent 21 years at St. Catherine's and served seven years as principal at Notre Dame High. Named in 1981 as the diocese's financial director, Covas resigned from the job two years later after he co-signed a promissory note lending $ 225,000 in diocesan money to a man convicted of fraud.

 
 

Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
     
guide of business management sytem guide of job opinions guide of capital goods guide of make fast money guide of Debt restructuring guide of home business guide of income money guide of hospital products guide of international market guide of repair roof before winter guide of website income guide of secure your business guide of face makeup tools guide of jewellery arts guide of tv shows guide of best places on earth guide of job plans guide of cheap cars guide of creating products guide of women tools guide of eat less guide of car insurance process guide of sport stuff guide of garden home guide of cheap insurances guide of electronic tech guide of healthy feeding guide of what is next in fashion guide of improve company guide of tactical insurance guide of make money at home guide of development in business guide of dept loan guide of cooking secrets guide of correct companies guide of jobs with more income guide of reviews o general products guide of improving technology guide of ideal job guide of business sectors guide of dept problem guide of unlimited business guide of suitable insurance company guide of money cars guide of how to market guide of heatlhy diet tips guide of decoration tipse guide of security problems