Most Dangerous US Predator Priests Walking Free a SNAP Fact Sheet (11/08)


November 12, 2008

Most Dangerous US Predator Priests Walking Free a SNAP Fact Sheet (11/08)

MD Fr. Fernando Cristancho

In 2001, he sexually exploited and impregnated Dalia Fernandez. She gave birth to triplets and he molested two of them in 2005-06, according to a ruling by Maryland's second highest court (the Court of Special Appeals). The court gave custody of the six-year-old triplets to Fernandez. The priest is originally from and worked in Virginia and Maryland. In 2004, the Baltimore archdiocese apparently revoked his permission to act as a priest.

Details: Becky Ianni of Northern Virginia SNAP 703 801 6044

MA, NY, MD: - Fr. A.J. Cote

He is accused in a civil lawsuit of molesting two Massachusetts boys in 2005. While committing those crimes, he was on suspension for also sexually abusing a Maryland boy in 2001-02. That boy settled his civil lawsuit against Cote and his employers (the Dominicans) in 2007 for $1.2 million. Cote is believed to be living in western Massachusetts or Manhattan.

Details: Attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul MN 651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell

AZ Msgr. Dale Fushek


He is awaiting trial early next year on seven "misdemeanor sex charges" stemming from his relationships with five boys in the 1980s and '90s, including indecent exposure, assault and contributing to the "delinquency of a minor," according to news accounts. For years, he traveled the country promoting the 'Life Teen' program he founded. In January 2008, Phoenix's archbishop warned Catholics to avoid the new church Fushek started and still runs.

Details: Attorney Stuart Mermelstein of Miami 305 931 2200

NY New York City - Msgr. Wallace Harris

In August of this year, he was forced to step down as pastor because of allegations of sexual abuse. He now faces ten accusers but many of his parishioners have rallied around him and have basically erected a shrine to him outside his former church.

Harris is charismatic and well connected in both political and church circles. (New York's governor is a parishioner and Harris helped plan the Pope's spring 2008 visit to NY.)

Details: Rev. Eric C. Crumbley, founder of Harlem Faith Center in Harlem 516-884-2744

NY Long Island Msgr. Alan Placa

In a 2003 grand jury report, Placa is accused of molesting kids himself and of helping other predator priests cover up their own child sex crimes. By virtue of his training (he's a civil and a canon lawyer), his connections across the country (he advised bishops on how to 'handle' abuse cases), and his close relationship with Rudy Giuliani (they're boyhood pals and he's on Rudy's payroll), Placa must be considered very dangerous.

Details: Richard Tollner of Albany, New York 518 724 2462, 518 428 5000,

IL - Fr. Kenneth J. Martin

As recently as last month, Martin, an admitted and convicted child molester, was working and living part time for a close friend who heads the Chicago archdiocese. In 2003, six months after bishops pledged to 'reform' and be 'open' about child sex cases, a reporter discovered Martin lived a week each month with Cardinal Francis George's Gold Coast mansion. In the ensuing public uproar, George said Martin would no longer work for the archdiocese. But George kept Martin on the payroll anyway.

Martin is especially dangerous because he's clearly very close to and favored by George, the current head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Because his conviction was before 1996, when Delaware's sex offender registry was created, Martin doesn't have to register as a sex offender. In the only interview he gave to a reporter, he denied having pled guilty to criminal abuse charges.

Details: David Clohessy of SNAP, 314 566 9790 cell

CA - Fr. Eric Swearingen

In 2006, in a civil trial, a jury found him guilty of molesting then 12 year old Juan Rocha in the late 1980s/early 1990s. (They deadlocked, however, on whether or not church supervisors knew earlier that he was a molester. So the judge declared a mistrial.) Afterwards, he was named rector of a diocesan high school. Now, Swearingen is the pastor of Holy Spirit Church in the Fresno Diocese.

He's still pastor at Holy Spirit Church in Fresno CA:

Details: Dave Drivon of Stockton 209 466 0982,,

Larry Drivon of Stockton 209 644 1234, 209 969 0982

TX, CO, MO - Brother William Mueller

Just last month, 23 civil lawsuits were settled against this cunning predator, who often used ether to knock teenaged boys out, then sodomize or molest them. Mueller often deceived his victims, claiming to be studying psychology and conducting bizarre 'experiments' about fear and trust. A former Marianist, he walks free now in San Antonio, Texas.

Details: Bryan Bacon of Columbia MO 573 874 7777

Attorney Adam Horowitz and Jeff Herman of Miami 305 931 2200

Attorney Dan Craig of Kansas City 816 221 7772

TX Fr. Anthony Gonzales

In March, a civil lawsuit against him was settled. He molested at least 15 girls and admits, under oath, fathering at least eight children. After one of his teenaged victims gave birth, Gonzales' Oblate colleagues lied, telling her Gonzales had died. He abused, impregnated and then abandoned a teenager who was living with her mentally ill mother in an abandoned house in Houston.

Gonzales now lives in Taylor Texas (population 15,000) where his sister is the mayor.

Details: Attorney Tahira Khan Merritt of Dallas 214 503 7300

MO Fr. Thomas M. Reardon

Reardon is the most widely accused predator priest in Missouri, who faces at least 20 accusers in civil lawsuits. He also has a counseling license and until recent years was seeing drug and alcohol-addicted teens as a therapist. Along with his colleague, Fr. Thomas O'Brien, he's accused of holding wild, liquor-laden parties with teens at a remote lake house where perhaps dozens of boys were molested.

Details: Attorney Rebecca Randles of Kansas City 816 931 9900 work (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 19 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is


David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home),

Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747),

Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)


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