At Least 16 Abusers in Gallup Diocese
Part IV of a five-part series
By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Gallup Independent (Gallup, NM)
May 27, 2011
[See the complete series: 1. Diocese
Fails to Deliver Answers (5/24/11); 2.
Diocese: In or Out of Compliance? (5/25/11); 3.
Diocese Still Mum on Payouts (5/26/11); 4.
Least 16 Abusers in Gallup Diocese (5/27/11); 5.
Diocese's List of Known Abusers (5/28/11).]
G. Allison | Michael
J. Aten | John
Boland | James
M. Burns | Santino
“Tony” A. Casimano | Charles
“Chuck” Cichanowicz OFM | David
J. Clark | Clement
A. Hageman | Julian
Hartig OFM | Robert
J. Kirsch | Diego
Mazon OFM | Bruce
MacArthur | Douglas
A. McNeill | Francis
“Frank” Murphy | Jose
H. Rodriguez | John
T. Sullivan ]
GALLUP — Local Catholics may have a hard time wrapping their
minds around the idea of clergy abuse in the Diocese of Gallup.
Perhaps they’ve never met any of the priests accused of abuse.
Perhaps they’ve never met any abuse victim. Perhaps the stories
of abuse are difficult to believe.
But for Catholics who regularly attended Mass in a parish in Northern
Arizona during the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s or ’80s,
they probably had at least one parish priest who was a sex abuser,
and they probably attended church with a number of abuse victims.
And for Hispanics from devout Catholic families in Northern Arizona,
they probably have at least one relative who was an abuse victim.
Many of Gallup’s abusive priests were sent to far-flung Arizona
communities that were hundreds of miles from the eyes and ears of
the Gallup chancery. In addition to its parishes in Apache and Navajo
Counties, the Gallup Diocese once included many Arizona communities
in Coconino, Mohave and Yavapai counties, such as Flagstaff, Kingman,
Prescott and Camp Verde.
Since Bishop James S. Wall and his chancery officials have failed
to release their promised list of clergy abusers, the following
is an updated list of priests associated with the Diocese of Gallup
who have been publicly accused of the sexual abuse of minors.
• William G. Allison:
The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Allison as an abuser in 2005.
Allison, apparently from the Diocese of Alexandria, La., was a patient
of the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs when he was allowed
into the Gallup Diocese by Bishop Bernard Espelage. Allison worked
from 1960 to 1961 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Flagstaff,
and he directed the Newman Club at Arizona State College, now Northern
Arizona University. Allison later worked in California parishes.
Although Gallup diocesan officials said in 2005 there was only one
credible allegation against Allison, the Rev. James Lindenmeyer,
Allison’s former supervisor in Flagstaff, wrote a letter in
1963 saying, “Three young men in the parish have told me of
incidents involving him.” Allison’s personnel file was
obtained by subpoena in a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Fresno,
Calif. If Allison is still alive, his whereabouts are unknown.
• Michael J. Aten: The
Diocese of Gallup announced in 2003 that it had received more than
one credible allegation of abuse against Aten, who was ordained
for the Gallup Diocese in January 1977. Aten worked in the Arizona
communities of Pinetop, St. Johns and Winslow. At Pinetop’s
St. Mary of the Angels, Aten worked with notorious sex abuser James
M. Burns. Aten was removed from ministry and is believed to have
abused a number of boys in Apache and Navajo Counties. Aten died
in Missouri, June 24, 2001.
• John Boland: Ordained
for the Gallup Diocese in June 1975, Boland worked in 10 communities
in Arizona and New Mexico before being removed from ministry in
February 2009 by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Gallup’s apostolic
administrator. Olmsted had learned of Boland’s 1983 arrest
in Winslow, Ariz. A grand jury had charged Boland with four misdemeanor
counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one felony
charge of committing a lewd and lascivious act with a child under
the age of 15 (Navajo County Superior Court Docket No. 7708). Under
a plea agreement, Boland pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor and prosecutors
dropped the other charges. Boland has a number of supporters who
believe he was not guilty of sex molestation and believe he was
framed by a group of teen boys. However, the Diocese of Gallup has
negotiated, or is currently negotiating, confidential, out-of-court
settlements with several alleged victims. Boland reportedly returned
to his native Ireland in 2010.
• James M. Burns: The
Gallup Diocese publicly identified Burns as an abuser in 2003. Ordained
for the Gallup Diocese in May 1962, Burns’ career spanned
more than 30 years, and his assignments sent him to parishes across
Northern Arizona and finally to Blanco, N.M. Burns is believed to
have abused upwards of several dozen children, mostly boys from
devout Hispanic families. In 2004, Superior Court Judge Gloria J.
Kindig sentenced Burns to 18 months in prison after one of Burns’
victims filed a complaint with the Winslow Police Department and
the County Attorney’s Office prosecuted Burns (Navajo County
Superior Court Case No. CR20040417). That same victim also hired
the California law firm of Kiesel Boucher & Larson and filed
a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Dec. 24, 2003.
Burns died in Wickenburg, Ariz., Aug. 6, 2010. Gallup Bishop James
S. Wall allowed Burns to be buried in the predominately Hispanic
Catholic cemetery at St. Rose in Blanco.
• Santino “Tony”
A. Casimano: The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Casimano
as an abuser in 2005. Ordained for the Diocese of Gallup in August
1975, Casimano worked just about one year at St. Paul in Crownpoint
on the Navajo Nation. By 1978, Casimano received permission to work
in California. He later bounced from one Navy chaplain position
to another. In 2004, California attorney Katherine K. Freberg filed
a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of two brothers
who said Casimano had sexually abused them. According to the Orange
County Register, the Diocese of Orange, one of the defendants in
the case, eventually paid a $4.2 million settlement to Casimano’s
victims. The Diocese of Gallup was also named in the lawsuit. Casimano
died Aug. 8, 2005.
• Charles “Chuck”
Cichanowicz, O.F.M: Cichanowicz is a former Franciscan
priest who worked on the Navajo Nation in St. Michaels and Shiprock.
He later left the Franciscan priesthood to become a mental health
counselor in Indiana. Patrick Noaker, an attorney with Jeff Anderson
& Associates of St. Paul, Minn., and attorney William R. Keeler
of Gallup, have filed three lawsuits in the Navajo Nation courts
on behalf of three Navajo men who say they were sexually abused
by Cichanowicz. The first lawsuit was filed in Shiprock District
Court in November 2007 (Case No. SR-CV-369-07-CV), and the other
two lawsuits were filed in Window Rock District Court on April 15,
2009 and May 11, 2009. The Shiprock judge dismissed the first case,
ruling the statue of limitations had expired. Noaker and Keeler
have filed an appeal with the Navajo Nation Supreme Court, but at
this time all three cases are stalled in the Navajo court system.
Cichanowicz’s whereabouts are unknown.
• David J. Clark: According
to a Feb. 7, 1994, article in the Phoenix Gazette, two brothers
filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Gallup in Maricopa County
Superior Court in 1993 (Case No. CV1993-026626). The brothers claimed
that Clark, a member of the Claretian Missionaries, had sexually
abused them in 1959 and 1960, while Clark was working at the Sacred
Heart Parish in Prescott, Ariz., which was once a part of the Diocese
of Gallup prior to the formation of the Diocese of Phoenix. Clark’s
whereabouts are unknown.
• Clement A. Hageman:
The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Hageman as an abuser in 2005.
An alleged victim of Hageman’s is suing the diocese in Arizona’s
Coconino County Superior Court (Case No. CV2010-00713). The plaintiff’s
attorney, Robert Pastor of Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman &
McAnally, has obtained documents from Hageman’s personnel
file that shows the priest abused boys in the Diocese of Corpus
Christi in Texas before moving to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and
eventually the Diocese of Gallup, where he worked for about 35 years.
Pastor has also discovered a trail of Hageman’s abuse victims,
mostly Hispanic males, from Holbrook, Winslow and Kingman. Many
of the victims have received confidential settlement payouts from
the Diocese of Gallup. Hageman died in Winslow in 1975.
remaining eight names of known clergy abusers in the Gallup Diocese.
Reporter Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola can be contacted at (505) 863-6811
ext. 218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.