Diocese identifies 5 more abusers
By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Gallup Independent correspondent
December 12, 2018
GALLUP — The Diocese of Gallup added the names of five more Catholic priests to its list of credibly accused sex abusers Monday.
Retired Gallup priest Eugene Bowski, who was identified as a credibly accused clergy sex abuser by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia Nov. 29, was added to Gallup’s list after diocesan officials posted an online announcement about Bowski by Bishop James S. Wall. In addition, the names of four deceased priests who worked in the Gallup Diocese were also added: Laurence Florez, Dennis Fountain, OFM, Harry Morgan and Justin Weger, OSC.
With the publication of these five new names, the diocese has created a new category in its list of credibly accused abusers – individuals who worked in the Gallup Diocese but were credibly accused elsewhere.
“We have now officially undertaken the task of publishing the names of priests and church workers who have served in our diocese, but who have had credible allegations of abuse made against them during their assignments outside the Diocese of Gallup,” Wall said in a second announcement posted Monday. “These names will be posted below the list of church workers who have been credibly accused of abuse from their time serving within the Diocese of Gallup.”
According to the bishop, he has sent letters to each Catholic parish, mission and school advising them that the diocese has “now extended the parameters” of its credibly accused list.
In addition to publishing the five new names, the diocese lists the men’s ministry assignments in the Diocese of Gallup, including a link to the Catholic diocese or religious order that identified them as a credibly accused abuser. However, information about where else the cleric may have been assigned nationally or internationally is not included.
Several years ago, the Diocese of Phoenix identified Florez and Morgan as credibly accused clergy sex abusers. Both men had been priests in the Diocese of Gallup, but they transferred to Phoenix when the Diocese of Phoenix was established in December 1969.
Weger, a member of the Crosier Fathers and Brothers in Phoenix, was identified as a credibly accused abuser several years ago by his religious order. Crosier officials stated Weger had briefly worked as a substitute priest in the Diocese of Gallup.
Fountain, a Franciscan friar, was recently identified as an abuser by the Diocese of Las Cruces. Additionally, according to online news reports, Fountain also had abuse allegations leveled against him in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, stemming from his assignment at St. Catherine Indian School.
Wall concluded his announcement about the additional names by thanking survivors of clergy sex abuse “for their bravery and dedication to driving reform in the Church.”
Editor’s Note: On Saturday, the Independent will publish the ministry assignments of these five priests, which include assignments in Arizona, New Mexico, the Navajo Nation and Laguna Pueblo.