DIOCESE OF SAN JOSE CA
Diocese of San José data on clergy sexual abuse
The following information was prepared for distribution in all parishes the weekend of Feb. 14-15 for inclusion in parish bulletins. It was part of related information regarding how the Diocese of San José has been dealing with the issue of clergy sexual abuse.
On Feb. 27 a national report on the nature and scope of sexual abuse of minors by clergy will be made public by the National Review Board which was established in compliance with the Charter and the Norms.
This study was conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. It is anticipated that the report will give an aggregate accounting of the numbers of allegations, victims and perpetrators for the dioceses in the United States since 1950.
In as much as the Diocese of San José was established only 23 years ago, the information that was reported in the John Jay study corresponded to that time frame.
Statistics for the years 1950-1980 were reported by the Archdiocese of San Francisco because San José was a part of the Archdiocese until 1981. For the sake of clarity and completeness, The Diocese of San José is reporting two sets of statistics: 1) those pertaining to the Diocese of San José (1981-2003); 2) those allegations against priests who served in Santa Clara County between 1950 and 1980.
The total number of priests in ministry for the Diocese of San José, who served at a parish, school or other diocesan facility, is 405. This includes diocesan priests, Religious order priests in diocesan assignments and priests on assignment from other dioceses.
Not included in this total are Religious order priests who served or resided at schools and other institutions operated by a Religious order.
The number of priests accused of sexual abuse of a minor since 1981 is 6. Of these 6 priests, 1 is deceased and 4 have permanently been removed from ministry. An allegation against 1 priest was found to be unsubstantiated.
The 5 priests accused of credible allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor from 1981 to the present represents 1.2 percent of the total number of priests in ministry for the Diocese of San José for that 23 year period.
To date, the diocese has paid $20,000 in settlements (not counseling, which is noted below) related to sexual abuse of minors by priests. There are no pending lawsuits against the Diocese of San José related to any of these allegations.
Prior to 1981:
The majority of known incidents of sexual abuse of minors by priests occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, prior to the establishment of the Diocese of San José.
Between 1950 and 1981, the number of priests accused of sexual abuse of a minor was 11. Three of these priests are deceased, and an allegation against 1 priest was unsubstantiated. These cases were reported to the John Jay study by the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
The number of known (pre-1981) lawsuits pertaining to allegations of
child sexual abuse that are pending against the Diocese of San José
is 24. The Archdiocese of San Francisco has also been named in these cases.
These cases were filed in the last calendar year. The pending lawsuits
involve a total of 4 priests, 1 of whom is deceased.
By Brandon Bailey and Putsata Reang email@example.com or (408)
The report, which did not identify the priests, is part of a national study intended to be the first comprehensive measure of a sex-abuse scandal that in recent years has dogged the Catholic church.
San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath outlined the findings, which are more extensive than any local numbers previously reported, in a statement distributed at churches this weekend. In the statement, he apologized to sex-abuse victims and to the community at large. He also pledged ``to do all in our power to ensure that no one ever again suffers the tragedy of sexual abuse.''
Some parishioners said the report was a sign of positive action by church leaders, although others said it did not go far enough.
``They made a tremendous mistake, but they're trying to remedy it now,'' said Bridget Flynn of San Jose, who was attending Mass Saturday evening at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph downtown.
``I'm glad the church is finally acknowledging it,'' said Pauline Zweers-Asche, 37, as she was leaving Mass at St. Martin of Tours parish.
Victims and their advocates have urged church leaders to identify the offending priests, arguing that parishioners have a right to know if a local pastor was the subject of charges that church leaders believe to be true.
``I'd like to know where these guys are now, and if we should be preventing them from harming other children or vulnerable adults,'' said John Salberg, a San Jose man who stepped forward two years ago with allegations against a former pastor at St. Martin of Tours.
More than 20 former students at the St. Martin parish school, including Salberg, are suing the church over allegations that the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard molested them in the 1970s.
McGrath was not available for comment Saturday. A spokeswoman for the San Jose diocese said church leaders decided not to identify the priests because the national study, which will be released later this month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, did not ask for the names.
A number of bishops around the country have released similar reports, but only a few have named the offenders.
``I can see arguments on both sides,'' said Bill Spohn, a professor of theological ethics at Santa Clara University.
While bishops have pledged to be more open with their parishioners, Spohn said, they may also feel an obligation to protect the rights of priests who have not been convicted in a criminal court.
Spohn praised McGrath as ``very proactive,'' but added that bishops around the country still have not acknowledged their responsibility for allowing some abusive priests to remain in ministry.
``These are steps in the right direction,'' he said, ``but a lot more needs to be done.''
The San Jose report also did not specify how many children were molested by the 15 priests. In contrast, the Archdiocese of San Francisco recently reported that 143 minors were abused by 51 of its priests since 1950. The Diocese of Oakland said ``at least'' 72 children were abused by 24 priests.
The San Jose diocese broke its numbers into two categories.
Five priests were the subject of ``credible allegations of sexual abuse'' committed since the diocese was created in 1981. That represents about 1.2 percent of the 405 priests who served in the diocese during that period. The report said one of the five is dead and the other four have been removed from active ministry.
Ten more were accused of abusing children in Santa Clara County from 1950 to 1980, when the area was part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Three are dead; the report does not give the others' status and doesn't estimate how many priests served in the county during that time.
The Mercury News has previously identified two priests who were convicted of sexual misconduct with minors while serving in local parishes since 1981. The Rev. Angel Mariano was convicted of oral copulation with a minor in 1999; the Rev. Robert Gray was convicted of molestation in 1993.
In addition to Pritchard, who served at the St. Martin parish in the 1970s, the newspaper has identified two other priests who were accused of misconduct before 1981: The Rev. Leonel Noia was convicted of molestation in 1976, and was later accused of misconduct by another family. The Rev. Arthur Harrison was charged in a Marin County criminal case that was dismissed because of the statute of limitations; he also was accused by a family of molesting two San Jose girls but was never charged.
Church officials have said those four priests have all been removed from active ministry.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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