Are Docs 'Smoking Gun' of Local Priest Abuse?

NBC Sandiego
October 17, 2007

SAN DIEGO — Some people are calling nearly two dozen pages of letters and documents a smoking gun in a case of a cover-up of local priest abuse

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NBC 7/39 obtained 23 pages of letters and documents on Tuesday. They appear to be written by a mother and

father whose son was molested by a priest almost 40 years ago.

Two individuals NBC 7/39 spoke with said the letters prove the San Diego Diocese knew about pedophile priests and did nothing about it.

These letters, which are dated "1969," are addressed to the then-bishop Francis Furey. The victim's name has been blacked out in the letters, in which the parents describe how their son was molested by the Rev. William Kraft, who has since died.

The mother wrote to Furey that her son was "pale as a sheet," and that "Father Kraft held him real tight from behind." She also said that Kraft "nuzzled in his hair," and then she continued in more graphic detail.

The father wrote, "Father Kraft is a very sick man who needs medical care."

The documents also contain a letter from Kraft, in which he denies the allegations.

NBC 7/39 spoke to Richard Sipe, a former priest and retired psychotherapist, who said that he believes the letters are authentic — and that they are just the tip of the iceberg.

"So there are many, many, many documents, files and files and files of documents that show the sexual activity — with minors — by priests of this diocese," said Sipe. "It went on from the very beginning of this diocese."

Sipe said he is familiar with the letters and with Kraft.

" Oh there's no question he was a pedophile," Sipe said. "His object was to seduce little boys and to have sex with them. It was absolutely blatant. He's not alone. There were some just as blatant as he was."

Late on Wednesday afternoon, the diocese issued a brief statement to NBC 7/39. It said, in part, that "the letters also indicate that Bishop Furey investigated the allegation and found no reason to take further action."

The diocese admits Kraft has credible allegations against him. The statement also said that "we are profoundly sorry for the harm" caused by Kraft. However, the diocese said the incident referred to in the letters and documents involved an 18 year old, so, technically, it was not a case of child molestation.


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