Monterey Diocese Suspends Priest Hit by Sex Abuse Allegations

Contra Costa Times
February 15, 2011

A Catholic priest who worked as pastor of a Salinas church and at the San Juan Bautista Mission for two decades has been suspended after two allegations that he sexually abused minors came to light.

The priest, the Rev. Edward Fitz-Henry, was suspended Jan. 7 after church officials received letter from a law firm alleging that the priest had sexually abused a minor in 2005 while he was at Madonna del Sasso Church in Salinas, a diocese spokesman said.

Church officials contacted Salinas police immediately and hired a private investigator to do an internal investigation. The church investigator turned up evidence of an earlier episode of sexual abuse that occurred almost 20 years ago, the spokesman said.

The diocese's internal review board deemed the earlier allegation credible and that prompted officials to notify parishioners over the past weekend at both churches and to encourage people to come forward with any other claims involving the priest, said spokesman Tom Riordan.

Fitz-Henry, who is in his early 50s and came to work for the Monterey diocese in 1985, was asked to move from the rectory at San Juan Bautista Mission church immediately after the first allegation was made and remains suspended, Riordan said.

Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.