'Sodomy' Book Author Exposes Santa Rosa Bishop, Priest

By Matt C. Abbott
Renew America [California]
June 27, 2006

Randy Engel's soon-to-be released, 1318-page book The Rite of Sodomy — Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church promises to be one of the most controversial books in some time.

Engel has provided me with the following material (slightly edited) on Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel Walsh — who recently made the news here and here — which includes excerpts from her book (the indented passages).

Writes Engel:

Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel F. Walsh's complicity in the escape to Mexico of Jesuit Father Xavier Ochoa, accused of the sexual molestation of a 12-year-old altar boy in Sonoma County, should come as no surprise to Catholics who have followed Walsh's early clerical career as vicar general and auxiliary bishop under Archbishop John R. Quinn of San Francisco.

Walsh played a pivotal role in the notorious Bishop Joseph Ferrario sex abuse case in the early 1990s when a young Hawaiian man by the name of David Figueroa charged Ferrario and two other Catholic priests from the island with sexual molestation. It was the first time an American bishop had been publicly accused of pederasty.

The Ferrario-Figueroa case was important because it revealed an early pattern of premeditated and organized deception, and criminal behavior, by Church officials, including Bishop Walsh, in dealing with clerical sex offenders:

The case involved the top echelons of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States including the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference, the Papal Nunciature in Washington, D.C. and the Vatican. The victims and their families were all intimidated and/or sworn to secrecy. Whistle-blowers were exiled and/or overtly persecuted and excommunicated. Seminaries were polluted. The Lavender Mafia, which included recruits from the mainland, colonized the entire diocese. Clerical pederasts found safe-haven from prosecution and fresh prey. And so it went. All to protect an unfaithful bishop and sexual pervert, Bishop 'Joe' Ferrario.

Background on Bishop Ferrario

Ferrario was a Sulpician-trained priest, ordained in 1951 for the Diocese of Honolulu under the ecclesiastical province of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. He came to the islands in 1959 to teach at St. Stephen's Seminary in Kaneohe, and in 1975 became pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua following the death of Father Joseph Henry, a Maryknoll priest who had served the parish for 25 years.

Shortly after he settled in at the parish, Ferrario met David Figueroa, a dark-haired, dark eyed very handsome 15-year-old Portuguese youth who did odd jobs around the rectory and school. David's mother, who had 15 children, worked as a housekeeper at the rectory.

When Father 'Joe' arrived on the scene the Figueroa household was in a turmoil as Mrs. Figueroa was in the middle of divorce proceedings from her abusive husband. One day, David confided to the new pastor that Father Henry had sexually abused him for ten years, since he started kindergarten. ...

Father Ferrario asked David if he had told anyone about the matter. David said he had told no one — not his mother or father or brothers or sisters or his friends. According to David, at that point, Ferrario took over where Father Henry had left off. The fact that Father Henry had already 'broken in' the young man meant that Ferrario was spared the trouble of grooming him. Later, David said, that until he went to high school, he thought that all priests were like that, i.e., pederasts.

In 1975, when Ferrario began his sexual assault on David, the young man was only 15, one year under the age of legal consent in Hawaii. Ferrario was guilty of statutory rape. According to Figueroa, sex took place several times a week until he graduated high school. Money was always forthcoming after the sexual service was rendered. Ferrario also aided the Figueroa family financially. This financial assistance continued even after Ferrario had left the parish, as did the sex. ... David was 21years old when the 'affair' ended.

Meanwhile, Ferrario was moving up the ecclesiastical ladder. In 1978, Pope Paul VI appointed him an Auxiliary Bishop of Honolulu, and in 1982, Pope John Paul II elevated Ferrario to Bishop of Honolulu. This despite the fact that Ferrario was engaged in sexual solicitation of seminarians at St. Stephen's and had carried on a homosexual liaison with another island priest. Word spread that the Diocese of Honolulu was now overtly "gay friendly."

A number of bishops on the mainland sent some of their "problem" clergy to the Honolulu diocese. Bishop Leo Maher of San Diego (also the first bishop of Santa Rosa) sent his close friend and wealthy sodomite Msgr. William Spain to Honolulu. Archbishop James Hickey of Washington, D.C., hid on the islands convicted boy-molester Father Arthur O'Brien. Career pederast Father Robert N. Burkholder, from the Archdiocese of Detroit, who molested as least 23 young boys, took up residence in Ferrario's backyard and said Mass at St. Elizabeth's Parish, which operated a K-8 grade school.

Mrs. Figueroa did not know that her son was sexually abused until late 1979, when David made a trip home from San Francisco and finally told his mother the details of his abuse at the hands of Father Henry and Bishop Ferrario. Mrs. Figueroa arranged for her son to go to another priest for counseling. The priest, Father Tony Bolger, promptly initiated a sexual relationship with David. In January 1982, David flew back to San Francisco where he worked at odd jobs and sold his body as a male prostitute. He did not return home again until 1985.

In the fall of 1985, Mrs. Figueroa confided the details of David's sexual abuse by Ferrario to Catholic activist and independent radio show host Patricia Morley. Morley was on Ferrario's hit list. At this point, events began to move very quickly:

Morley advised Mrs. Figueroa to write a letter to Archbishop Laghi the Apostolic Delegate in Washington, D.C. detailing the horrific tale of decades of clerical sex abuse suffered by David. In retrospect, this advice proved to be a disaster. What David needed was a good attorney to represent his legitimate interests. But in these early days of dealing with clerical sexual predators, Catholic minds simply did not think this way.

When Archbishop Laghi, who had now been elevated in rank to Apostolic Pro-Nuncio, received Mrs. Figueroa's letter, he immediately sent a copy to Bishop Ferrario. The bishop, in turn, contacted David who had returned from San Francisco and told him that the letter could hurt his (Ferrario's) career. In the twisted and warped world of the sexual predator, the perpetrator is more than capable of making his victim bear the brunt of the guilt. Ferrario had David come to his office, and the bishop oversaw the writing of another letter in which Figueroa retracted his mother's statement. Ferrario wrote out a check for David for $400 drawn from the Bishop's Charity Fund. The date was November 25, 1985.

Feeling even more guilt now at having betrayed his mother, David told her and Pat Morley what he had done. David then wrote a second letter to the Pio Laghi on February 1986 confirming the contents of his mother's original letter. Laghi sent Ferrario a copy of the latest communication from David Figueroa.

Two months later, on April 7, 1986 the Figueroas received a letter from Archbishop Laghi stating he was sending an investigator to Hawaii to interview David and his mother. The single proviso was that all communication with the Vatican's representative be kept confidential.

Enter Auxiliary Daniel F. Walsh

The accusation that Laghi did not take the charge of homosexual rape of David Figueroa by Ferrario as anything but a minor inconvenience can be substantiated by the fact that he sent Daniel Francis Walsh, an auxiliary bishop of San Francisco, as his emissary and confidant. Archbishop Pio Laghi was too wrapped up in major scandals brewing in the Archdiocese of Chicago under Cardinal John Cody to waste time and energy with what his superiors at the Vatican apparently viewed as a localized nuisance.

Walsh and Ferrario, as it turns out, were bosom buddies.

The two men had enjoyed a long-standing friendship that went back to Walsh's seminary years at St. Joseph's Seminary in Mountain View, Calif. When Walsh was consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco on September 24, 1981, Bishop Ferrario assisted Archbishop John R. Quinn at the ceremony as a principal co-consecrator. At the time of the interview with the Figueroas, Walsh was staying at the Bishop's residence at 1184 Bishop Street in Honolulu (Oahu) to help celebrate Ferrario's 60th birthday. The Figueroas were kept in the dark concerning the close connection between the two men.

At the time that Walsh interviewed David and his mother and took all their evidence against Ferrario, the Figueroas had no legal counsel present. There is no question that Mrs. Figueroa and David acted in good faith in providing the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio's representative with the dates, times and places that David had had sexual relations with Ferrario. Before he left, Walsh bound them to secrecy. But the secrecy was a one-way street. ...

Sometime in 1986 or 1987, Ferrario says he couldn't remember exactly when, he was summoned to Rome to discuss the charges of sexual molestation against him. He later reported that the Congregation for the Clergy cleared him of those charges and in 1985 had closed his file. Ferrario said he was told he had 'the Holy Father's confidence.'

On August 6, 1987, Walsh's service to the Holy See was rewarded when he was installed as Bishop of Reno-Las Vegas. In March 1995, Walsh was made bishop of the newly created Diocese of Las Vegas. On May 22, 2000, Walsh was installed as the bishop of Santa Rosa, replacing the disgraced predatory homosexual bishop, George Patrick Ziemann, who had resigned on July 22, 1999.

Walsh's 1985 visit was the first and last time that either David or his mother had any contact with him or the Papal Nuncio.

On August 8, 1991, David Figueroa filed a federal civil lawsuit in Federal Court of Hawaii. The suit charged three island priests with abusing him — Bishop Ferrario, Father Henry and Father Bolger. Immediately after the court ruled that the statute of limitations had run out, David's lawyers appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco which rejected the case on the same grounds.

The efforts of David Figueroa did, however, produce at least one salutary repercussion. The lawsuit finally persuaded the Holy See to take a more serious look at the Honolulu diocese. In 1992, Bishop Ferrario underwent a quintuple heart bypass. On October 12, 1993, he resigned for health reasons. On November 29, 1994 Francis Xavier DiLorenzo was installed as the fourth bishop of Honolulu.

Ferrario's last years were spent on the golf courses of Maui, while my friend, David Figueroa, who died of AIDS, lay cold in his grave. My friend, Pat Morley, was also dead.

On December 12, 2004 Bishop Ferrario went to his Maker. He was 77-years-old. Bishop DiLorenzo administered the last rites for Ferrario and presided over his funeral Mass. "I have lost a dear friend," DiLorenzo told reporters. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin obituary for Bishop Ferrario stated that he preached "tolerance and community outreach," and that he "openly welcomed gays into the church."

Bishop Walsh — A Company Man

The Ferrario affair firmly established Bishop Walsh as a company man in solid standing with the Old Boys Club, i.e., the NCCB/USCC (today, the USCCB). And it is within this context that we should examine his role in the Ochoa case.

Father Xavier Ochoa's Relationship to Bishop Emeritus Ziemann

Most of the news reports coming out of Santa Rosa on Father Ochoa's criminal escapades state he was simply a diocesan priest. My, my, what short memories some people have.

Jesuit Father Xavier Ochoa, who was ordained in 1969, arrived in Sonoma County in 1988. After Bishop Patrick Ziemann, one of Cardinal Roger Mahony's "golden boys," was given the Diocese of Santa Rosa in 1992, Ochoa was brought into the chancery as director of Hispanic vocations.

It is not without a touch of irony that it was probably through Ochoa that Ziemann met his Waterloo in the person of a Costa Rican "priest" named Jorge Hume Salas. Shortly after Ziemann has been installed as Bishop of Santa Rosa, Ochoa arranged for Hume to meet the new bishop, who immediately took a shine to the young man. Never mind that Hume had been thrown out of three seminaries for, among other things, posing as a priest, falsifying his resumes and possessing pornography.

This did not seem to bother Ziemann, who was not particularly interested in Hume's seminary or academic credentials. Soon, Hume was sexually serving Bishop Ziemann, who, at one point, gave Hume a beeper-phone to summon the priest to the bishop's home or the chancery for homo-sex.

In 1999, Hume sued Ziemann for sexual harassment among other things. Ziemann's close friend, Archbishop William Levada tried to intimidate Hume into dropping the civil suit, but to no avail. When Hume eventually returned to Costa Rica he was, at least, $535,000 richer thanks to the charity of the Catholics of the Diocese of Santa Rosa.

On July 22, 1999, Ziemann resigned as bishop of Santa Rosa. The problem was where to hide Ziemann until the heat died down. Archbishop Levada with the consent of Cardinal Mahony first sent Ziemann off for "treatment" to Philadelphia and then to the Diocese of Tucson under Bishop Manuel Moreno, who, like Levada and Mahony, was a graduate of Our Lady Queen of Angels and St. John Seminaries.

On April 22, 2000, Archbishop Levada was relieved of his administrative duties in the Diocese of Santa Rosa with the installation of Bishop Daniel F. Walsh, who immediately set to work settling numerous clerical sex abuse cases including additional suits against Bishop Emeritus Patrick Ziemann.

When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, Levada was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and given the red hat.

The Bottom Line

Father Xavier Ochoa is part of the West Coast network of clerical and hierarchical sodomites who dominate AmChurch today. Whether he was one of Ziemann's many sexual partners, or simply acted as a pimp for the bishop — or both — is irrelevant at this point. The fact is he knows too much about who's who in the clerical sodomite zoo in California. And that is why Father Ochoa is safe in Mexico and not sitting in a Santa Rosa jail.

(Engel's book can be ordered at

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic journalist and commentator. He is a columnist for and/or contributor to,,,,, and He can be reached at


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