Timeline of Diocese Troubles

September 21, 2004
Arizona Daily Star


• January: The diocese begins construction on a $1.3 million TV station. KDTU-TV goes on the air that September.


• October: It's announced that KDTU Channel 18 no longer can afford to operate and will go off the air. The diocese debt is reported to be $23 million. In 1989, after the station's sale, a financial oversight committee is set up by the Vatican to monitor the diocese budget.


• 1990s-2000: Attorney Lynne M. Cadigan begins filing claims alleging sexual abuse of altar boys by clergy. During this time, the local diocese pays $155,000 to settle claims from eight people who say they were victims of sexual misconduct by church personnel.


• November: The Vatican-appointed financial oversight committee monitoring the diocese, led by Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, disbands, saying the diocese's financial status is "quite sound and positive."


• October: Bishop Manuel D. Moreno, citing health problems and future retirement, announces a co-adjutor bishop will share his duties overseeing the diocese. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas had been an auxiliary bishop in Chicago.


• January: An out-of-court settlement involving 11 lawsuits is reached with 10 men and their families, all represented by Cadigan and Kim E. Williamson. The men say they were molested during the 1960s, '70s and '80s by four local priests: Monsignor Robert C. Trupia, the Rev. Michael Teta, the Rev. Luke Meunier de la Pierre and the Rev. William Byrne. The amount of the settlement is $14 million, but the diocese won't disclose how much was paid by insurance.

• June: The diocese makes public a list of its priests, dating to 1950, against whom "credible" accusations of sexual abuse of children have been made. The list eventually grows to 28 priests, two deacons and one nun - all of whom served in the local diocese at some time.

• August: The Rev. Juan Guillen is arrested on three counts each of sexual conduct with a minor and child molestation. He eventually is charged with 11 felony counts related to four young boys, whom prosecutors say he molested from 1989 to 2002.

• December: The diocese creates the Charities and Ministries Fund Inc., a separately incorporated fund-raising arm, to reassure parishioners that money they donate to the Annual Catholic Appeal will not go toward settling lawsuits.


• February: Trupia, named in six of the 11 lawsuits settled in 2002, is living in a Maryland condominium owned by a prominent California monsignor and remains on the diocese payroll, though he was suspended in 1992 because of sexual abuse allegations.

• March: After 21 years of leading the diocese, Moreno, 72, announces he is taking early retirement. He is succeeded by Kicanas, 61.

• June: The Rev. Thomas Purcell is sentenced to 9.5 years in prison for sexually abusing a South Tucson boy in the 1980s.

• July: Guillen is sentenced to 10 years in prison on two counts of attempted child molestation connected with sexually abusing altar boys from the chapel where he ministered.

• September: Facing 14 new lawsuits since the 2002 settlement, the diocese sells its headquarters at 111 S. Church Ave. to the private Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson for $1.65 million. Diocese officials say the sale was made because the 2002 sexual abuse settlement left it unable to secure a $1.5 million debt.

• August: Families of five girls receive a $1.8 million out-of-court settlement stemming from accusations that teacher Phillip Gregory Speers molested the girls during the 1999-2000 school year at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in Yuma. The settlement money comes from diocesan insurance.

• October: The Rev. Julían Sanz, former pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Douglas and founder of a Mexican orphanage, is given five years in prison for sexually abusing an 11-year-old altar boy during confession in 1982.

• December: After a meeting with Kicanas, during which he was told of an investigation of alleged sexual misconduct, the Rev. Fernando Manzo disappears. Until then, Manzo had been pastor of San Felipe De Jesus Parish in Nogales, Ariz.


• June: With the diocese facing 19 pending civil actions over sexual abuse of children by clergy, Kicanas concedes the possibility that the diocese will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is "absolutely realistic."

• July: Property records show the diocese has sold or transferred assets reportedly worth $5 million in the previous 13 months, primarily to other Catholic corporations. Attorneys representing plaintiffs in pending civil actions against the diocese are concerned it was done to avoid compensating victims of sexual abuse. The diocese says its transactions from the prior year, including the $3 million sale of the East Side Regina Cleri Center to the new St. Augustine Catholic High School, were in good faith and part of regular church business.

• Aug. 6: Pope John Paul II gives the local diocese permission to permanently remove Teta and Trupia from the priesthood.

• Aug. 14: Facing 20 pending civil actions over clergy sexual abuse, Kicanas announces he will make a decision on whether to file for bankruptcy by mid-September. The filing deadline coincides with the date the diocese is scheduled to go to trial in Yuma in a potentially damaging lawsuit filed by three brothers who accuse Guillen of Immaculate Conception Church of molesting them for years. The lawsuit says the diocese was told of a possible problem with Guillen's sexual behavior with young boys as early as 1992.

• Sept. 20: The diocese files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

- Stephanie Innes

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