Church IDs 15 Abusive Priests
The O.C. Diocese Names the Men As Part of a Nationwide Tally. Eleven Had Been Identified Previously; Four Are Named for the First Time
By Ray F. Herndon
Los Angeles Times [California]
Downloaded January 11, 2004
The Orange County diocese of the Roman Catholic Church on Saturday publicly named 15 locally based priests it had identified as part of a nationwide accounting of clergymen accused of sexually molesting children.
The name of a 16th priest, who is deceased, was withheld at the request of his victim, according to a statement issued by the diocese.
Twelve of the priests have been removed from active ministry, two remain on administrative leave until their cases are adjudicated, and another left the diocese to serve as a chaplain in the military for 22 years before the allegations were made.
Eleven of the priests had been previously identified in news articles about the sexual misconduct scandal that has roiled the church in recent years. But four ? Franklin Buckman, Santino Casamino, Robert Foley and Edgardo Arrunataegui Jiminez ? were identified for the first time.
The others named by the diocese were: Christian Anderson, Richard Coughlin, Michael Harris, John Kenney, John Lenihan, Denis Lyons, Gary Pacheco, Michael Pecharich, Henry Perez, Eleuterio Ramos and Seigfreid Widera.
In announcing this month that 47 Orange County children had been molested by the priests from 1976 through 2002, church officials did not name the 16. They noted that they represented 2.7% of the 589 priests who have served in the diocese.
Some local victims and their attorneys believe the numbers are actually higher.
"If the bishop [Tod D. Brown] is going to keep his promise of openness and transparency, he needs to come forward with the names of all the priests," said one of the plaintiff's attorneys, John Manly, a Costa Mesa lawyer.
The national study, being compiled by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, covers 1950 through 2002. But Orange County's report covers a shorter period, because it was part of the Los Angeles diocese until 1976.
The national study, due to be released Feb. 27 by the national conference of Catholic bishops, is intended to provide the number of sexual molestations nationwide, the number of priests and victims, along with the amounts being paid to victims by U.S. dioceses.
The Diocese of Orange was one of the first in California to release information it had pulled together for the national study. The diocese said it has thus far paid $4.6 million to victims and $66,000 for counseling to victims and family members over the 27 years covered in its report.
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