Sexual-Abuse Victim Warns of Priest

By Deborah Frazier
Rocky Mountain News
September 5, 2006,1299,DRMN_15_4968954,00.html

Loveland - The suicide attempts and decades of drug abuse that followed Robert Brancato's childhood sexual abuse by a priest brought him to the Rev. Tim Evans' neighborhood Monday.

Evans, a Catholic priest, was indicted last week in Jefferson County for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy in his Spirit of Christ Church in Arvada in 1996. He is free on $25,000 bond.

Evans was moved from Arvada in 1998 to a large parish in Fort Collins, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and has been charged there with two sexual assaults.

He is free on $75,000 bond in that case.

"I saw him mowing his lawn this morning," said Brancato, who went door to door in Evans' neighborhood warning residents about the priest.

"I didn't go to his door. He's just one piece of evil I do not want to look in the eye," Brancato said.

Brancato and other members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, talked with neighbors, most of whom were distressed that they hadn't been notified.

"We did know he was here," said Geri Grizzle, who lives around the corner from Evans in the middle-class neighborhood of nicely groomed lawns and many children.

Grizzle, whose children are 17 and 25, said she'd heard about Evans on television and alerted neighbors with small children.

"We were shocked no one had been notified, especially since there's an elementary school in the neighborhood," she said.

Evans did not answer his doorbell Monday, although several dogs barked in the yard.

He was removed from the Fort Collins parish position in 2002 and from the ministry in 2003. He has not been removed from the priesthood, church officials said.

As Brancato walked Monday, he talked about the priest and the high school principal at a Catholic school in Illinois who took turns sexually abusing him at a resort.

When Brancato told his parish priest, he was punished for telling lies.

By the time he was 16, he said, he'd attempted suicide for the first time.

Brancato, 37, said he then stayed silent for 20 years, using drugs, alcohol and prescription drugs to quell the memories. He married and divorced twice.

Now, he's active in SNAP, helping others shift from self-hatred to realizing they were attacked by criminals.

Carol Kobel, 57, also knocked on doors in Evans' neighborhood. She said she was sexually abused by two nuns at a Catholic high school in Colorado Springs, which has since closed.

She too attempted suicide several times and kept silent for decades before joining SNAP.

"The nuns and priests who are abusers get to know their victim's families, take the children on trips," she said.

"That's why telling the neighbors here is important."

Brancato said he invited Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput to come and help warn the neighbors, but didn't receive a reply. No one from the archdiocese could be reached for comment Monday.


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