|Upland Parishioners Complain about Priest
By Sandra Emerson
Contra Costa Times
March 9, 2009
Upland: Some parishioners of St. Anthony's Church in Upland are losing faith in their leaders.
The parish has been plagued with problems since July when the Rev. Charles Schultz became pastor and complaints to Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino have gone unanswered, according to some parishioners.
Schultz verbally insulted parishioners and staff, proceeded with facility additions without permits and used force with the church's youth, parishioners said.
"He used a bullying nature with all of us. His manor was not pastoral at all," said Christina Moore, director of religious education and 20-year member of St. Anthony's. "I never had any incidents with him where he behaved as a pastor would, not one, the whole time. There was an occasion when he used profanity and once he made a derogatory remark about my ethnicity."
Schultz is on a leave of absence, according to the diocese. He could not be reached for comment.
From late January to early February, four police reports of physical abuse by Schultz at a Jan. 24 church youth event were filed with the Upland Police Department.
The police reports were sent to the District Attorney's Office in San Bernardino.
The case was thrown out because it was determined that Schultz's conduct did not warrant criminal prosecution, said Nancy Cooper, of the District Attorney's office.
"Things are so terrible, especially when people make police reports based on his behaviors," Moore said. "There's not reassurance, Bishop Barnes won't give us reassurance and why won't he? What does he have to lose to tell us everything will be OK?"
More than 300 upset parishioners on Wednesday attended a meeting with representatives from the Diocese of San Bernardino on the church grounds to express their frustration over unanswered letters, e-mails and phones calls to the diocese office.
Barnes did attend the meeting.
"I would call and call repeatedly because, in the fall, we were very much in turmoil, (Schultz) behaved very badly with his ranting and raving and very erratic and it truly was a disaster," Moore said.
Moore and four other female church employees in October filed complaints about Schultz creating a hostile work environment with the diocese Human Resource Department, Moore said.
Four of the five complaints have since been sent to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she said.
Schultz was removed from the parish by the diocese in February and placed on a six-month leave of absence to address his health issues, said John Andrews, Diocese of San Bernardino spokesman.
"The diocese is aware of the current challenges that exist at the St. Anthony's Parish, and we have taken steps to ensure for the well-being of both the parishioners and Father Schultz," Andrews said.
"Bishop Barnes will decide at a later date about any future ministry for Father Schultz and he'll do that in accordance with the requirements of church law and he'll do it in consultation with his staff and Father Schultz."
One of the police reports filed with police states that Schultz in November grabbed a 15-year-old girl by both arms because she was not praying correctly.
The girl suffered red marks on her arms from the incident, according to the report.
The same report also states that Schultz took his thumb and pushed it into the girl's spinal cord during the Jan. 24 church function.
A second report describes a similar incident at the Jan. 24 church function in which Schultz grabbed a 16-year-old girl by the left arm and walked her to his confessional.
According to the police report, none of the juveniles at the church function was standing in his line for confession.
The other two reports described similar incidents with two 16-year-old boys.
"I could tell when I saw him that day he was very agitated. I didn't even think that he would throw a child out of a chapel doing anything that heinous or grab children," Moore said. "I couldn't fathom that would occur. After a lot of kids were upset and crying and wanting to go home."
Monique Lopez, parishioner at St. Anthony's, had a daughter in attendance during the church event.
"When we dropped her off that day we felt we were in a safe environment and there was no reason for a cell phone. When I picked my child up she was crying and hysterical, asking if St. Anthony's was a safe place," Lopez said. "Hearing that happen as a parent it's like having the carpet ripped out from under you."
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