Former Denver Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse

By Tarhonda Thomas
May 17, 2010

KUSA - Sunday evening, Archdiocese of Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput confirmed with 9NEWS that a priest who'd served in Denver for 33 years had been accused of sexual abuse

The priest is Father Dorino De Lazzer, who served at seven Denver-area Catholic churches from 1973 to 2005. De Lazzer has been retired since 2005. The abuse of which he is accused happened before he came to Colorado.

"This past week, May 8, I removed the priestly faculties of retired priest, Father Dorino De Lazzer," Chaput said in a statement. "I have withdrawn him from all ministry and placed him on administrative leave."

The parishes in which De Lazzer served are as follows: St. Pius X (1973-1974), St. James (1974-1976) , Spirit of Christ (1976-1981), All Saints (1981-1984), St. Mary (Greeley; 1984-1991)) , St. Michael (1991-1999) and Sacred Heart of Mary (1999-2005). Chaput says the Archdiocese of Denver has alerted the local parishes, other diocese and religious order in which De Lazzer previously served.

The alleged abuse occurred in the early 1970s.

"On May 7, I received a credible allegation against him for past sexual misconduct with a minor," Chaput said in a statement.

The Archdiocese of Denver has reported the allegation to the authorities in the county and state where the abuse was alleged to have occurred.

Chaput's statement goes on to say: "It is important to remember that this is the first allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that the archdiocese has received against Father De Lazzer. It concerns events from more than 30 years ago, and every accused person has the right to be presumed innocent."

Chaput also asked for privacy for De Lazzer, the alleged victim and members of the parishes in which De Lazzer served.

Archdiocese policy states that the Archdiocese of Denver takes "every claim of sexual misconduct, and especially sexual abuse of a minor, seriously" and addresses such claims promptly. It also states: "We respect the rights of the accuser, the accused and the other persons who might be affected by an allegation."

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