Did the Diocese of Monterey fail to act against an accused priest, or were they praying the story would go away?

Monterey County Weekly

by Mary Duan
and Sara Rubin

At the Diocese of Monterey, they have a codeword for the case of Edward Fitz-Henry, a former priest accused of molesting boys in several parishes over a number of decades. They call it “Primrose.”

It’s a beautiful flower, bizarrely representing an ugly blight on the diocese’s history. But Primrose, the diocese maintains, is over: Edward Fitz-Henry was “laicized,” or stripped of his duties and removed from the priesthood, in 2013. The paperwork, Fitz-Henry says, came through from Rome just this year.

He walked away with an unspecified cash settlement after he sued the diocese for failing to protect him and for revealing aspects of his private psychiatric history.

The diocese admits they found “credible” an allegation dating back nearly 25 years, that Fitz-Henry behaved inappropriately with a boy at the Mission San Carlos School in 1990, when Fitz-Henry was a priest there and had grown close to the boy’s family. There was tickling into submission, extended hugging and arm stroking and wrestling that ended with the priest’s crotch in the boy’s face. When the boy’s sister witnessed some of it, she told her mother something weird was going on and the mother agreed. The mother complained about it to her bishop, extracting a promise that Fitz-Henry would get help and that he would never be allowed around children again.

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