DIOCESE OF TUCSON AZ
"Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the
sufferings, you also share in the encouragement." (2 Corinthians,
Right now, the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States are in public with ashes very visible on our foreheads. We asked for these ashes. We willingly accepted them because they are an important sign for us.
Of course, I am referring to the information that has just been released publicly on the nature and scope of child abuse by priests over the last half century in the United States. By going public with this information, our Church is trying to demonstrate that it has learned some very painful lessons: protection of children matters most; protection of children is far more important than the reputation of an institution or concern for the well-being of the abuser; our Church must respond with care and compassion for victim/survivors and their families.
The information that has been made public is in two reports. One, called the John Jay Study, quantifies abuse of children by priests over the last half century. This study is more exhaustive than that undertaken about any other profession in regard to the prevalence of sexual misconduct with minors by its members.
The second report is an analysis conducted by the National Review Board, the group established by the bishops to guide and oversee the unified response of the bishops to child abuse by priests. It is based on interviews that the Board conducted with about sixty individuals, including bishops, victims, and experts. It offers some insights as to possible reasons why our Church was so vulnerable to abuse by priests and why bishops in the past responded as they did to abuse by priests.
Both these reports are part of the ongoing commitment of the bishops
to be as open and transparent as possible about what has happened these
past five decades. I pray and hope that being public about what happened
will help to aid in the healing of victim/survivors and their families,
will help to aid in the healing of the Church, and will help our Church
today prevent repetition of the mistakes of the past.
The number of victims of priestly abuse nationally and in our Diocese is overwhelmingly tragic. It would be tragic if there were only one. It tears at the soul to learn that over the last half century the number of victims nationally of abuse by priests is in the thousands.
In our own Diocese, we have become aware that from 1950 through the present there have been 100 credible allegations of sexual misconduct with minors made against 26 priests who served in the Diocese over that period of time. For 24 of those priests, 89 of the 100 allegations relate to the period of time the priests actually served in the Diocese. Those allegations involve at least 85 persons who were children or teenagers when the sexual misconduct occurred. More than 80% of those allegations have to do with the 30 year period from 1960 to 1990.
There may be other victim/survivors who have not yet come forward. We simply do not know.
The information in the John Jay Study and the attention it receives from the news media may open some old and terrible wounds for victim/survivors of abuse, no matter where that abuse may have happened. Our Diocese especially wants to respond compassionately and meaningfully to all victim/survivors as best we can.
If you or any member of your family has experienced sexual abuse from someone within the Church in this or any other diocese please know that we care, that we want to help, and that we are sorry for what has been done to you.
There are several ways that people can come forward to make their abuse experience known and to receive assistance, no matter how long ago or where the abuse took place.
They may call the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault 24-hour crisis hot-line at 1-800-400-1001.
They may call the Victim Assistance Program of Catholic Social Services in Tucson at 520-623-0344 or 1-800-234-0344.
They may call Dr. Paul Duckro, Ph.D., director of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection at 520-792-3410.
Certainly, if there is an experience of abuse from outside the Church that is troubling you or someone you know, please urge them to call the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault crisis hot-line.
The number of priest abusers is dismaying and shocking. The number of repetitive abusers shows the dreadful sickness that can take hold of people and lead to such great harm.
Our Diocese has identified publicly all the priests against whom there is a credible allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor. Ten of the 26 priests have died. Seven are retired and are prohibited from ever again ministering as a priest. The remaining nine priests all have been suspended from ministry. Of the nine, three are in prison. The Diocese is pursuing removal from the priesthood of four of the nine, including the two diocesan priests who are in prison.
Our policy is that any allegation about which we become aware is immediately reported to law enforcement. I am confident that there is no priest in active ministry in our Diocese against whom there has been a credible allegation of sexual misconduct with a child that is known to us.
The amount of money for settlements between victims and dioceses and for the treatment of victims and their abusers is troubling. We can only hope that some of those monies have led to healing of heart, mind, and soul of those who were hurt.
Our civil system of justice provides the opportunity for compensation for damages through the awarding of money, but there is no doubt in my mind that forgiveness and reconciliation are most powerful ways to free the heart from anger, pain, and resentment.
Over the past two years, I have met with some victim/survivors and their families. I have been profoundly moved by their willingness to hear my apology and my plea for their forgiveness. I have witnessed in those meetings the healing power of forgiveness. God moving in their lives through their ability to grant forgiveness gives us hope.
I know there is a person behind each and every number we have reported as an allegation. I ask for the opportunity to meet with anyone who has experienced abuse from within the Church so that I can say how sorry I am for what happened.
I have written to you often in the past few months about what we have accomplished in our efforts to make the protection of children a priority. I have pointed out to you our new programs for background screening of new employees, volunteers, and prospective seminarians. I have called your attention to our child abuse awareness and prevention programs, to our new code of conduct for all who minister in the Diocese, and to the compliance representatives who will help insure that all our programs for child abuse awareness and prevention are implemented in each of our parishes and schools. I have shared with you that our efforts received commendations from independent auditors.
I am very confident that the steps we have taken will help to protect children and will help to create safe and loving environments at all our parishes and schools. Please make an effort to familiarize yourself with our efforts. There is information on our diocesan Internet site, www.diocesetucson.org, under "Restoring Trust."
Specific information about the nature and scope of abuse within our Diocese and information on the costs associated with the misconduct by priests is available on our Diocesan Website and will be included in our Catholic Vision newspaper the first weekend of March.
I invite you to share your thoughts and feelings with me about what I have addressed in this letter. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at P.O. Box 31, Tucson, AZ 85702. If you would, please identify yourself and your parish. I truly want to know how all of this is affecting you and your thoughts about what we are doing to prevent abuse. I would like to post your e-mails and letters on our diocesan Internet site so that we all can share in your feelings and opinions.
If our Diocese of Tucson were a book, the terrible damage inflicted by abusive and negligent clergy would certainly be a sad chapter. But it is one chapter.
The book of our Diocese includes many chapters, and most of the chapters are about people who built the Kingdom of God right here where we live today. They were the heroes of our Faith: Father Kino, the French Bishops, the Sisters of St. Joseph, Father Bonaventura Oblasser, and generation after generation of the People of God who kept the Faith and who built the Kingdom in their families and in their parishes and schools.
The People of God continue to write this book. There is another chapter being written right now:
Our St. Augustine Cathedral was full to overflowing last Sunday, and it will be full to overflowing again this Sunday with the catechumens and candidates, their Godparents and sponsors, and their families from parishes all across our Diocese.
The catechumens and candidates are women and men and teen-agers and children who are seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through the sacraments of our Catholic Faith.
They have seen all the news about the scandals, but they have taken the Good News of Jesus Christ into their hearts and they are coming wholeheartedly into the Faith at this time of challenge and sadness for the Church.
God moving in their lives gives us hope.
I can imagine how different I would feel today if we all were talking about a 50 year study of the work of the Church and of our Diocese in education, health care, and social ministry; or a 50 year study of the pastoral work done in parishes throughout the Diocese; or a 50 year study of the work of the Church in prisons, among the homeless, and with migrants; or a 50 year study of the great good done by religious, priests, and laity in our Diocese.
I am left with two conflicting feelings today after reading the John Jay Study and the National Review Board analysis. I feel profound sadness, but I also feel a blessed assurance that the mission entrusted to the Church by Christ will continue.
In his message to the world for this Lenten Season, the Holy Father said, "Let us set out with trust on our Lenten journey, sustained by fervent prayer, penance and concern for those in need. In particular, may this Lent be a time of ever greater concern for the needs of children, in our own families and in society as a whole: for they are the future of humanity."
I pray that we all take these words to heart.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Summary of Diocese of Tucson Information Regarding Priests about
Whom the Diocese is Aware of a Credible Allegation of Sexual Misconduct
with a Minor
Eleven of those allegations involve the service of four of the 26 priests in other dioceses over that period of time.
The Diocese is aware that for 24 of those 26 priests the number of allegations related to the period of their service in the Diocese from 1950 through today is 89.
The Diocese estimates that 1,222 priests -- diocesan, externs (diocesan priests from other dioceses), and religious order priests -- have served in the Diocese from 1950 through Dec. 31, 2003.
The 26 priests with service in the Diocese of Tucson from 1950 through today about whom the Diocese is aware of a credible allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor is 2.1% of the total number of priests over that period of time.
Of the 26 priests, 21 were diocesan priests (Diocese of Tucson and externs) and five were religious order priests.
The 24 priests with service in the Diocese of Tucson for whom the 89 allegations relate to the period of their service in the Diocese is 1.9% of the total number of priests over that period of time.
Of those 24 priests for whom the 89 allegations relate to the period of their service in the Diocese, 17 were priests of the Diocese of Tucson, two were externs, and five were religious order priests.
The 100 allegations (26 priests) about which the Diocese is aware are related to 96 individuals: 76 (79.2%) males and 20 (20.8%) females.
The 89 allegations (24 priests) were related to 85 individuals: 66 (77.6%) males and 19 (22.4%) females.
The estimated distribution by decade of the 89 allegations when the sexual
misconduct allegedly occurred is:
The estimated distribution of the 89 allegations by decade pairs:
Of the 26 priests, 11 (42.3%) have one allegation; three (11.5%) have two to three allegations; nine (34.6%) have four to nine allegations; three (11.5%) have 10 to 13 allegations.
Of the 24 priests, 10 (41.6%) have one allegation; two (8.6%) have two to three allegations; nine (37.5%) have four to nine allegations; three (12.5%) have 10 to 13 allegations.
Based upon all the known ages of those persons related to the allegations when sexual misconduct occurred involving the 24 priests who were serving in the Diocese, the Diocese estimates this distribution:
Males: one seven-year-old (2.7%); one nine-year-old (2.7%); three 10-year-olds (8.1%); six 11-year-olds (16.2%); five 12-year-olds (13.5%); five 13-year-olds (13.5%); seven 14-year-olds (18.9%); three 15-year-olds (8.1%); three 16-year-olds (8.1%); three 17-year-olds (8.1%). (43.2% under age 13)
Females: one six-year-old (6.6%); one seven-year-old (6.6%); four eight-year-olds (26.6%); two nine-year-olds (13.3%); one ten-year-old (6.6%); four 13-year olds (26.6%); two 15-year-olds (13.3%). (60% under age 13)
The Diocese has identified publicly all the priests who have served in the Diocese against whom it is aware there is a credible allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Ten of the 26 priests have died. Seven are retired and are prohibited from ever again ministering as a priest. The remaining nine priests have been suspended from ministry.
Of the nine, three are in prison: Rev. Guillen, Rev. Sanz and Rev. Purcell. Rev. Guillen and Rev. Sanz are priests of the Diocese of Tucson, and the Diocese is seeking their removal from the priesthood. Rev. Purcell was a religious order priest (Society of Mary) at the time of his service in the Diocese. The Diocese does not know his status as a priest of that religious order.
Of the remaining six priests, the Diocese is seeking the removal of Rev. Teta and Rev. Trupia from the priesthood. Rev. Barmasse was a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at the time of his service in the Diocese of Tucson. The Diocese does not know his status as a priest of the Archdiocese. Rev. Cocio, Rev. Stencil and Rev. Taylor are priests of the Diocese of Tucson who are suspended and cannot perform any ministry.
Diocese of Tucson Clergy and Other Clergy and Religious
(Please note that one deacon and one religious woman are included.)
Rev. Kevin Barmasse
Rev. Richard Butler, O.P.
Rev. William Byrne
Rev. Patrick Callanan
Rev. Carlos Cocio
Rev. John P. Doran
Rev. George Dyke
Rev. Robert Gluch
Rev. Juan Guillen
Rev. Richard Judd
Rev. Francis Miller, O.C.D.
Deacon Ray Miranda
Rev. Lucien Munier de la Pierre
Msgr. John Oliver
Rev. George Pirrung
Rev. Thomas Purcell
Sister Rosaria Riter, O.S.B.
Msgr. Walter Rosensweig
Rev. Charles Rourke
Rev. Julian Sanz
Rev. Clemens Schlueter
Rev. Steven Stencil
Rev. Floyd G. Stromberg
Rev. Daniel Taylor
Rev. Michael Teta
Rev. Robert Thomas
Rev. James Thompson, C.M.
Msgr. Robert Trupia
Costs of Sexual Misconduct by Church Personnel of the Diocese of Tucson
In January of 2003, the Diocese reported publicly (diocesan Internet site and Catholic Vision newspaper) the estimated costs of sexual misconduct by Church personnel. The information reported by the Diocese covered a 10-year period, from January 1, 1993, through Dec. 31, 2002. Information on costs before 1993 is not available.
The reported estimated costs by category for that 10-year period and the costs by category for calendar year 2003 are:
Costs of Settlements
As previously reported by the Diocese, the settlement reached in January of 2002 is being paid with some insurance, with diocesan reserves, with loans and with contributions designated for payment of the settlement.
Costs of Counseling for Victims
Costs of Evaluation and Treatment for Church Personnel
The number is the first comprehensive tally of abusive priests who have served in Arizona. The total was developed in advance of a national report on the nature and scope of clergy abuse in the United States, which is expected to indicate at least 5,000 priests abused 12,000 victims.
That report, based on numbers calculated by each diocese, will be released Friday.
In Arizona, the Diocese of Tucson reported 27 accused priests and the Diocese of Phoenix reported 18. The Diocese of Gallup, N.M., had six abusive priests who served in Apache and Navajo counties in Arizona.
The Byzantine Eparchy of Van Nuys, a branch of the Catholic Church that evolved in the Orthodox tradition, reported no allegations. It is based in Phoenix.
Victim advocates are not convinced that the numbers, which exceed any reported previously by victim groups or the media, are accurate.
Dioceses throughout the country have been releasing similar information in advance of the national survey. Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has said results will be devastating.
Diocesan representatives declined comment until Friday.
All three dioceses previously identified abusive priests. None listed any not already identified. None listed is currently working in ministry.
In the Phoenix Diocese, cases that were "credibly accused" could range from those handled internally to those involving priests who've gone to prison.
A local member of Voice of the Faithful, a lay reform group formed as the scandal broke, would not talk until the report is issued.
But Paul Pfaffenberger, local leader of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he doubted, "based on past experience," that the Phoenix report is accurate.
"The diocese has had a long history of reporting only those cases that have been public through litigation, criminal charges, or the media," he said.
Other issues with the study:
Thomas Plante, a psychologist at the Santa Clara University in California, who has worked with dioceses and treated both abusive priests and victims, said the report "will be another earthquake in a series of earthquakes."
"People will read the numbers and the headlines, 5,000 priests and
12,000 victims, and be depressed, saddened and upset," Plante said.
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