Priest Accused of Sex Abuse

By Madeline Lewis
Victoria Advocate

September 18, 2008

Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Victoria confirmed Wednesday a former pastor there is accused of sexual abuse.

The Rev. David L. Colella, a Trinitarian priest, worked at Our Lady of Sorrows between 1981 and 1990, the Rev. Stan DeBoe said. The abuse is alleged to have occurred 18 years ago during his tenure at the church.

DeBoe said he did not know the gender or age of Colella’s accuser at the time of the alleged abuse.

An accusation against Colella was first brought May 20 to the Diocese of Victoria, DeBoe said. The initial accuser was not the alleged victim, but a second party.

The alleged victim has since supported this accusation of abuse.

Colella denies the charge, according to a news release issued Sept. 15 by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The Diocese of Victoria told DeBoe and the U.S. Province of Trinitarians about the accusation in May, DeBoe said.

The retired Colella, 80, most recently assisted at parishes in Bucks County, Penn. He also served as an adjunct judge in the Metropolitan Tribunal, which processes some petitions made to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Colella no longer holds these positions. He is now living in the Trinitarians’ Provincialate in Baltimore, Md.

The Diocese in Victoria conducted an internal investigation and informed the city’s police department about the accusations in June, DeBoe said.

The Trinitarians have hired a private investigator to look into the accusations, the pastor said.

DeBoe said he could not confirm whether police also have launched an investigation.

A Victoria Police Department sergeant said he was not aware of the case and referred comments to the investigations division Wednesday evening. Investigators were not available.

Notice of the accusation will be posted this weekend in all of Victoria’s Catholic parishes, DeBoe said. It will inform parishioners about the investigation and ask them to contact the diocese or the Trinitarians if they have any information.

DeBoe said he did not know Colella, but longtime parishioner Peter Ordonez Sr. remembered the priest as warm and caring.

“I dealt with him years ago when my son died,” Ordonez said. “He came to the house, and he was a great help.”

The accusations against Colella took Ordonez by surprise.

“I really have nothing bad to say about him,” he said.



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