Parish Predators: Are Daniel Dinardo and Juan Carlos Patino-Arango Cut from the Same Cloth?

By Craig Malisow
Houston Press
October 19, 2007

The wet blankets over at the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests have issued a statement about Texas's first cardinal. Seems that every time the Catholics want to have fun and build multi-million dollar cathedrals while at the same time paying Vinson & Elkins to drag victims' names through the mud, those SNAP sad-sacks have to bring up that nasty old molestation stuff.

The latest whining involves Daniel DiNardo, who came out of left field (actually, Sioux City, Iowa) to become the first cardinal from the South. Citing a 2002 article in the Des Moines Register, a SNAP statement claims that DiNardo – who became the Sioux City Diocese's bishop in 1997 – failed to report a priest accused of child molestation to parishioners or police.

According to the Register story, the Rev. George McFadden was forced into retirement and treatment in 1992, "immediately after the first allegations of sexual abuse were made against him."

However, McFadden was not formally suspended until 2002, five years after DiNardo become bishop. The story quotes DiNardo as saying "In retrospect, as we look back, we would say that even that limited activity . . . is not indicated for someone who has abused minors….I can only say that it was wrong."

David Clohessy, national director of St. Louis-based SNAP, told the Houston Press this morning, "Most bishops have tried to defend the indefensible by feigning ignorance and saying 'Gee, in the '70s and '80s we simply didn't understand pedophilia. Well, you know, this case…was in the 90s, right?....Middle schoolers during this time period knew that child sexual abuse was a crime and should be reported to police. But DiNardo never called 911."

The Register story states that reporters "learned of at least 20 other alleged victims." One alleged victim killed himself in 1984.

"There is a great deal we are doing," DiNardo is quoted as saying. "It is very important and time-consuming. Obviously, the most crucial will be dealing with victims."

That tradition of dealing with victims has carried over to the Houston Archdiocese, which has been sued by four victims of an admitted child-molesting seminarian whom the Archdiocese allegedly spirited back to his native Colombia, instead of alerting the police. The men and their families have long maintained that the accused man, Juan Carlos Patino-Arango, was held out as a priest by diocesan officials. However, a 2005 motion from the Archdiocese's lawyers claimed that Patino-Arango was a "mere seminary student" and that "any message gleaned by plaintiffs from any function Patino performed was solely an inference drawn by the plaintiffs."

But in a video of a mid-90s Easter Mass, Patino-Arango is seen wearing a clerical collar.

At the same time Patino-Arango was sexually abusing boys at St. Frances de Sales parish, a man named German Moreno was singing in the youth choir. A prominent church member, Moreno was a fugitive from Costa Rica, where he had been sentenced to nine years in prison for sexually abusing five boys and young men. Although Moreno claimed he was a doctor and spent an awful lot of time entertaining adolescent boys at his home, no one at the Archdiocese thought to check his background.

In May 2005, Moreno was charged in Harris County with two counts of indecency with a child, two counts of assault of a child and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child. The alleged victims were all church members. Moreno went to jail, bonded out, and promptly fled the country. His whereabouts are unknown.

Craig Malisow


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