Accused of Child Abuse Religious Teacher Moves to S.A.

February 5, 2009

Bro. Richard Suttle, a member of a California-based religious order and an accused child molester, has relocated to San Antonio, igniting a campaign by a victims advocacy group to demand he be stripped of his religious credentials and ordered to leave.

The local director of SNAP, which stands for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, protested Suttle's move Thursday in front of the Archdiocese of San Antonio's headquarters.

Suttle, a member of the Claretian Missionaries of the U.S. Western Province, reportedly moved here half a year ago as part of a monitoring program because of a claim he molested a child while serving as an educator in Arizona.

The alleged abuse took place during the 1982-83 school year at Sacred Heart School in Prescott, Ariz., where Suttle was a teacher, coach and principal.

The Diocese of Phoenix recently deemed the allegation "credible" but noted that meant he was neither guilty nor innocent -- only that it was "possible."

His religious order is investigating the case. In San Antonio, Suttle is living with the Claretian Missionaries, which owns and oversees the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, a few blocks from Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital.

Officials with the San Antonio archdiocese said they are satisfied Suttle's leaders are monitoring him sufficiently, including a commitment for him not to be assigned ministry involving minors and a sign-in system where he must declare where and how long he'll be gone if he leaves their community residence. No one has filed criminal or civil charges against Suttle, according to the archdiocese.

Calls to Suttle's order here and in California were not returned.


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