CBS13 Continues to Track Fugitive Priests

By Sam Shane
CBS 13
May 7, 2007

Sacramento Hector Rubio broke his silence, as did many others after seeing a CBS13 investigation into fugitive priest Gerardo Beltran. Back in February, CBS13 revealed how Beltran, who was a priest in Northern California, fled to Mexico after authorities accused him of molesting two children in Sacramento in the early 1990's. CBS13 went to Mexico and discovered that Beltran has been hiding out in the tiny village of Igualita for more than ten years.

Since airing that report, CBS13 has uncovered more potential victims and internal church documents that show the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento was well aware of and concerned about a number of priests abusing children as far back as the early 1990's.

One man, who wishes to remain anonymous is now coming forward, and has filed a police report saying Beltran molested him 19-years-ago inside St. Joseph's Church in Sacramento.

"He started to rub my back and then all of a sudden he just started rubbing on me. Started reaching in my pants, and I got scared, didn't know what was going on, and I didn't know what to do so I ended up biting him because I knew it wasn't right," he says.

"He started to rub my back and then all of a sudden he just started rubbing on me. Started reaching in my pants, and I got scared, didn't know what was going on, and I didn't know what to do so I ended up biting him because I knew it wasn't right," he says.

He says Beltran slapped him and said he would go to hell if he told anyone what happened. He thought Beltran was dead until he saw CBS13's story.

"It took me a long time to deal with it, and finally admit what happened. That it wasn't my fault," he says.

The Sacramento Diocese has paid out tens of millions of dollars to settle priest abuse cases involving as many as twelve priests. The diocese paid out $35 million dollars to settle 33 claims of sexual abuse by priests. 25 of the 33 allegations were from only two priests. The payments to each plaintiff ranging from $400,000 to $4.25 million for one victim.

The internal documents obtained by CBS13 are a laundry list of alleged misconduct by priests in the Sacramento Diocese-dating back to the 1980's. Allegations against priests include: sexual misconduct with several children, sexual misconduct with a mentally deficient parishioner, sexual misconduct with numerous parishioners, sexual molestation of 3 boys while they were minors and one case of a pastor saw boy in bed with priest.

Sacramento Diocese Spokesman Kevin Eckery talked to CBS13.

Sam Shane: Will the Bishop ever talk to us?

Eckery: I don't know.

For a second time, CBS13 requested an interview with Bishop William Wiegand of the Sacramento Diocese. And for a second time we were told Wiegand was not available. Instead the diocese provided spokesman Kevin Eckery.

Sam: But why won't he come and talk to us?

Eckery: It's not a matter of why won't he come and talk to us.

Sam: Well, what is it a matter of?

Eckery: Timing, scheduling, whatever you want to call it.

Beltran is certainly not the only fugitive priest from the Sacramento Diocese who is dodging justice. In fact, Beltran is one of three priests from the Sacramento diocese on the run. Jose Luis Urbina was convicted of lewd acts with a child in 1989. One man says Urbina abused him when was a child. We are not revealing this man's identity at his request. The adult man is still not comfortable telling the world what he says Father Urbina did to him as a child. Urbina was last seen in Sonora, Mexico.

Then there's Francisco Javier Garcia, who fled to Mexico in 1995 after being charged with criminally accused of abuse. The church has known where Beltran and Urbina are. So do prosecutors, even so, all three priests remain free.

Sam: Why are they not back here and why isn't the church doing more to get it done?

Eckery: The church doesn't have jails, Sam, I mean we don't have jails, we don't have cops.

Sam: They worked for you.

Eckery: All we can do is work with the people who have jails and have cops.

Since airing our report on Gerardo Beltran in February, Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully has yet to complete the process to bring him back to Sacramento to face charges. But Kevin Eckery says the Sacramento diocese has taken action.

Sam: You sent our report to Rome and to Mexico?

Eckery: Yes.

Sam: What's been the response?

Eckery: We haven't gotten a response back from Mexico at this point and I'm not in a position to talk about the early responses from Rome.

Sam: Are they concerned about what they saw?

Eckery: I'm not going to comment on that. I can tell you that there's on going discussion with Rome.

But there are two others like Beltran out there who fled Sacramento under a cloud of suspicion, Urbina who has been convicted, and Garcia who is criminally accused of molesting children. All three of them are free to do as they please.


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