Diocese Won't Allow Access to Clerics' Files

By Patrick Malone
Pueblo Chieftain
December 14, 2005

The Catholic Diocese of Pueblo has denied a request by The Pueblo Chieftain to inspect files it keeps on clergy accused of molestation.

In a letter received by the newspaper on Tuesday, Bishop Arthur Tafoya denied the request to make the files on Roncalli High School, Marianist Brother William Mueller and former priest Andrew Burke available.

"(The files) are primarily personnel records and therefore are confidential and entitled to the right of privacy," the bishop wrote. "The Diocese of Pueblo, just as any private employer, must restrict access to the personnel records."

The bishop's letter was in response to a Nov. 25 request from the newspaper to review files related to Roncalli High School, Mueller, Burke and Bishop Charles Buswell, who headed the diocese during the alleged acts of abuse.

Since Sept. 12 lawsuits have been filed against the diocese over alleged abuse by its clergy.

Eleven of the suits accuse the diocese of ignoring complaints that Mueller molested students at Roncalli High School between 1965 and the school's closure in 1971. Those suits also name the Society of Mary Religious order as defendants. The diocese has denied that its records include any mention of allegations that Mueller was abusing students. Mueller has left the clergy and resides in San Antonio.

The most recent suit against the diocese involves allegations that Burke molested an altar boy at St. Pius X in the early 1970s. Burke committed suicide in September.


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