Allegations Surface against Local Priest

By Megan Baldino
KTUU [Anchorage AK]
April 11, 2005

Anchorage, Alaska - There have been more allegations of sexual abuse by a former priest of the Archdiocese of Anchorage. The abuse allegedly took place for years beginning sometime in the mid-1970s.

The name of that priest is Father Dominic de Domenico, a Dominican priest who shows up in the archdiocese directory from 1976 to 1981. That was the same time the abuse is alleged to have started with a 15-year-old girl.

He first came to serve Holy Family Cathedral in 1975.

"Tall, quiet, extremely bright," is Father Don Brambleís memory of de Domenico. Bramble, now vicar general, came to the Archdiocese of Anchorage in 1978 but says he had no idea what de Domenico was up to, allegedly kissing and fondling a teenage girl, not just once, but according to his province, for the entire time he served in Anchorage.

"The woman alleges that there was an inappropriate relationship starting at the time she was about 15, and continuing for some period after that, after she became an adult," said Carla Hass, spokeswoman for the Western Dominican Province, in a telephone interview.

According to Hass, then-Archbishop Francis Hurley and Father Bramble likely did not know about the alleged abuse because Hass says the allegations did not surface until 1987, years after de Domenico was reassigned.

After checking archdiocese records today, Bramble maintains that neither he nor current Archbishop Roger Schwietz had any knowledge of de Domenico's misconduct.

"I certainly knew nothing about it at the time," Bramble said. "And I have not known about that detail until this month."

Father Roberto Corral, the head of the Dominican Western Province, reacting to a news story last week in Oakland, Calif. about de Domenico and other admitted Dominican offenders, writes, "these guys have been through their therapy, and working with their counselors and therapists. We are reasonably sure they will not re-offend."

De Domenico is now 66 years old and no longer in public ministry and, according to the province, no longer in contact with children.

Father Bramble says de Domenico's name was not part of the Erwin Commission report because there are no allegations in any of the Anchorage Archdiocese records, and the Dominican Province apparently never told anyone in Anchorage about the allegations. Also the province says the woman never sued or asked for any type of money.

Father Bramble said he was surprised by the allegations, that he knew Father de Domenico had been accused of some type of misconduct but he didnít know any details. He said he didnít know until contacted by KTUU-TV that the abuse is alleged to have happened in Anchorage.

The province says it felt it didnít need to tell the Anchorage Archdiocese about the allegations because de Domenico was long gone from the diocese. Hess also says the woman requested that the archdiocese not be notified.