At least 11 priests accused of sexually abusing children in Colorado report are still alive

Denver Post

November 4, 2019

By Elise Schmelzer

One Colorado priest left the church after allegations he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old and went on to work as a U.S. Veterans Affairs therapist and a wellness director tasked with leading a children’s club at a Trinidad nonprofit. Another priest, after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a minor, became a counselor to drug users before finding a new religious group to lead.

At least 11 of the 44 men named as predators in a report published Oct. 22 on clergy sexual abuse in Colorado’s Catholic dioceses are still alive. After leaving or being forced from the priesthood, some men became social workers, religious leaders and counselors. Others who remain priests are now retired and live in Denver and Pueblo.

At least three of the priests’ whereabouts are unknown — it’s not even clear if they’re alive. The Diocese of Pueblo does not know where Clifford Norman or Lawrence Sievers are, a spokeswoman said. Norman left the diocese in 1975 and moved to Mexico, and Sievers left the priesthood in 1973. Similarly, the Diocese of Colorado Springs does not know where William Martinez lives or whether he is alive. Martinez permanently left the priesthood in 2004.

The Colorado dioceses do not actively track the location and activities of priests named in the report, representatives of the three dioceses said. Those abused by the priests often did not report their assaults until decades later and the dioceses often did not report the allegations to law enforcement. As priests moved locations or left the church, they faded from the dioceses’ radars.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.