New Information on Priest Alleged Sexual Abuse

February 22, 2011

SALINAS, Calif- Attorney Vince Finaldi said the alleged sex abuse victim did move from Madonna Del Sasso to San Juan Bautista Misson for mass.But it wasn't because of Father. Fitz-Henry but for Latin Mass because he speaks Latin and joined the choir.

Finaldi said that his client met Fr. Fitz-Henry at Madonna Del Sasso back in 2005 and says he was abused by the father that same year. Finaldi says that at first his client forgave the priest because he had prayed for him and thought Fr. Fitz Henry had repented.

Fr. Fitz-Henry left Madonna Del Sasso in 2007 and returned to San Juan Bautista Misson. It is not clear exactly when the alleged victim went to San Juan Bautista Misson. However, Finaldi says his client came forward after Fr. Fitz-Henry allegedly started to make sexual comments to him.

That's where Fr. Milich enters the picture. Friday, Milich was removed from his duties as a priest in Monterey County because he did not come forward to tell the diocese about the sexual abuse allegations.

But Finaldi says that's not so. He claims there was a conference call back in June of 2010.

"Father Milich set up a meeting with the bishop and he and my client called the bishop from the office and spoke to the bishop and my client reported the abuse to the bishop and that's bishop garcia," said Finaldi.

I spoke with Diocese of Monterey County Spokesperson, Thomas Riordan about that claim. He told me that wasn't so. In a further conversation he told Central Coast News that a conference call did happen in June but it was about another serious matter and the abuse allegations never came up.

Riordan also shared a statement he received Friday night from Fr. Milich explaining what happened. Fr. Milich writes

"The alleged victim told me in November/December 2010 that Fr. Fitz-Henry abused him. I did not tell Bishop Garcia or anyone at the Diocese of Monterey about the accusation. The alleged victim was an adult at the time and he told me he was already working with an attorney. Because of this, I did not believe I needed to report at that time. In retrospect, I realize I should have at least reported this to Bishop Garcia."

Riordan, says that Bishop Garcia didn't know anything about the allegations until January 2011.

Father Milich was working with the Diocese of Monterey while here taking care of his parents and he is relieved of his duties here but since he originally belonged to a diocese in Washington state, it will be that bishop's decision on if he will be reinstated.

There was question on whether or not Latin mass would continue after Father Milich was removed, Riordan from the diocese said the latin mass will continue there.

As to the "Servants of the Paraclete," the Diocese of Monterey was correct. Although the facility is still in operation for several programs, including stress, depression, preaching, hence the reason they answered the phone friday. They did communicate by email today and said only the programs listed on their website are still in effect. That said the sex abuse rehab program is not listed.

We also checked with Salinas Police and they say no other victims have come forward.

Submitted by Lucero Benitez, Central Coast News

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