Tucson Diocese Offers Aid Even Though Priest in Sex Case Never Worked Here

By Sheryl Kornman
Tucson Citizen [Arizona]
June 7, 2007

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson on Wednesday renewed its request that anyone with information about the Rev. Jorge Washington Cordova Hernandez contact Yuma and Phoenix police, diocesan spokesman Fred Allison said.

Cordova faces 10 counts of child sexual abuse in Yuma.

The 51-year-old priest, now employed by a Catholic diocese in Ecuador, was arrested near Madrid by Spanish police Sunday.

Authorities there are cooperating in efforts to extradite Cordova to Arizona.

The FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Justice Department and Arizona Attorney General's Office took part in the two-year hunt for him.

In 2005, Cordova was indicted in the alleged abuse of two minors in Yuma, where he was St. Francis of Assisi Parish priest 1988-91.

Allison said the priest never worked in Tucson and stopped receiving income from its diocese in the early 1990s.

The priest left Yuma for Phoenix in 1991 and worked in the Diocese of Phoenix at Catholic Renewal Ministries, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glendale in 1991 and at St. Augustine Parish 1992-93.

The Tucson and Phoenix dioceses have worked with law enforcement in the Cordova investigation, Allison said.

"Anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct or abuse by a member of the clergy or any other worker of the church" is urged to make a report to law enforcement and to contact Paul Duckro at the Tucson Diocese's Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, at 838-2513, Allison said.

The diocese will extend counseling and support to any individual who makes an allegation of abuse, he added.

Anyone who believes he or she may have been harmed by the priest may get assistance under the diocese's Chapter 11 proceedings, which provide money for damages and for counseling to victims of abuse by employees of the Tucson Diocese.

The Yuma Police Department can be contacted at (928) 373-4726; Phoenix police, at (602) 534-3220.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.