Fr. Eric Swearingen

Ordained: 1987
Status: Settled

Died: 01/18/2020
Diocese: Diocese of Fresno CA

Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish when sued in 2002; briefly placed on leave. Accused of abusing a teenage altar boy at Our Lady Of Guadalupe in Bakersfield 1989-93. Diocese deemed allegation not credible. Allowed to return to ministry after DA’s office did not pursue criminal charges 11/02; said no evidence and no witnesses. Mistrial in civil case 12/20/06 due to split decision: jury ruled Swearingen did likely abuse the boy, but that diocese did not have prior knowledge. The suit required both claims to be true. Case went to binding arbitration 5/07 to settle the suit. Named rector of diocesan high school in 12/07. In 6/14, named pastor of the Catholic Church of Visalia, also called Good Shepherd. Placed on leave 6/5/19 due to new information from the 2006 civil case. Reportedly ill with brain cancer. Died 1/18/20, age 58. Included in 8/21 on the diocese’s list of credibly accused.

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