San Dimas Priest Removed from Duty after Affair Comes to Light

By J.d. Velasco
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
February 14, 2011

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Joelle Casteix, left, and Mary Pitcher hold up informational signs and pass out leaflets at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in San Dimas on Monday.

A San Dimas priest who previously served on a sexual abuse advisory board for the Catholic church has been removed from duty after allegations came to light last week that he had sex with a high school student in the 1960s.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Friday announced that Martin O'Loghlen, 74, was being removed from his position at Holy Name of Mary church in San Dimas, where he has served as associate pastor for the past two years.

The announcement of O'Loghlen's removal came the day before the New York Times reported that he admitted to having sex several times with Julie Malcolm, now of Phoenix, while she was student at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente. O'Loghlen would have been about 23 at the time.

Three decades later, O'Loghlen began trying to contact Malcolm to ask for her forgiveness. His attempts ultimately led to a lawsuit by Malcolm against O'Loghlen and his religious order, which was settled for $100,000.

Spokesman Tod Tamberg said archdiocese officials acted quickly after learning of O'Loghlen's misconduct.

"Within an hour and a half he was gone from the ministry and gone from the diocese," Tamberg said.

During his career, O'Loghlen held several leadership positions within the church and served on the Archdiocesan Sexual Abuse Advisory Board, which is meant to review accusations of sexual abuse by priests.

According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which gave the documents to the Times, O'Loghlen served on the board for at least two years during the 1990s.

Joelle Casteix, western regional director of SNAP, said her group was planning to hand out fliers to students and parents at Holy Name of Mary School Tuesday afternoon informing them about the case and encouraging abuse victims to come forward.

Tamberg said O'Loghlen may have been around students at Holy Name of Mary School, but said contact would have been limited.

"He might have said Mass for the students in the church," he said.

He added that no complaints have been received from any parents or students at the school.

But Casteix said she has never seen a case in which a priest was not heavily involved in the affairs of a school associated with his church.

And she pointed out that O'Loghlen served as principal of Damien High School in La Verne from 1970 to 1980.

A statement issued by the archdiocese on Friday said O'Loghlen's continued service was due to a lack of communication between church officials.

"Apparently, the Archdiocese's Vicar for Clergy's Office did not fully consult other Archdiocesan records of Father O'Loghlen's previous assignments in the Archdiocese which would have indicated that he admitted to having had a sexual relationship with a female minor in the 1960s," it said.

The finding led to the resignation on Friday of that vicar, Monsignor Michael Meyers.

Meyers will no longer hold his position as vicar, but remains a priest in good standing with the archdiocese.

Tamberg said there are no plans to move Myers from his residence at St. Elizabeth's church in Altadena.

"I believe he'll be staying there for the near future," said Tamberg, who described him as a "good man."

Barbara Dorris, outreach director of SNAP, called on Cardinal Roger Mahony to "fire, harshly denounce and start defrocking" Meyers.

In a release, Dorris said that allowing Meyers to "quietly resign" sends a "tepid message."

"It's yet more proof that the Catholic hierarchy isn't serious about better protecting kids and gives only lip service to being more honest about pedophile priests," she said.

Tamberg said that since the archdiocese became aware of the mistake, it has reviewed its records to ensure no other priests with sexual abuse in their backgrounds are still working.

"We have reviewed all priestly (assignments) granted since 2002 and could find no other similar situations," he said.

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