Priest Suspended from Mesa Parish Now Accused of Molestation in Glendale

By Mike Sakal
The Tribune
August 25, 2011

Father Jack Spaulding

A prominent East Valley priest suspended on allegations of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy more than 25 years ago now is being accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy at a Glendale parish 37 years ago.

The man, now 50, filed a complaint against the Rev. Jack Spaulding, former pastor of St. Timothy’s Catholic Community in Mesa, with the Glendale Police Department on June 27. In the report, he alleges that Spaulding sexually touched him and gave him massages during sleepovers at a church’s rectory during the summer of 1974, the same year Spaulding founded the Office of the Disabled for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. The boy’s parents would allow him to spend the night at the rectory at Spaulding’s request, according to a Glendale police report.

The alleged sexual activity took place over a period of about six months, according to the report. The man who filed the complaint said during that time Spaulding inappropriately touched him and gave him massages about four times in his room at the rectory before they slept in the same bed, the report stated.

Glendale police are not naming the alleged victim or the parish where the alleged activity happened. However, Spaulding served as priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale from 1971 to 1975, according to the Diocese of Phoenix. The alleged victim told police he grew up in the church and attended school there.

Spaulding’s attorney, Don Wilkinson, said on Thursday that “sleepovers” with Spaulding would have been very unlikely at the time as young priests are under close watch and scrutiny.

The victim in the Glendale case told police that Spaulding was a friend of his family and often came over to their house and helped with his brother, who was deaf. Spaulding knew sign language, according to the police report.

“It could be another fast-buck artist,” Wilkinson said of the man filing a sexual abuse complaint after 27 years. “He might be trying a quick roll of the dice to get some money.”

Although the statute of limitations for prosecution of sexual abuse offenses for a victim under the age of 14 ran out on the case in 1979, the man has retained a lawyer for civil litigation purposes, according to the report. He told police in June that he had first contacted a lawyer two years ago about the alleged incidents, but his attorney told him that no other people had come forward or accused Spaulding of similar incidents so he decided not to, the report stated.

Glendale police said they will not pursue prosecution of Spaulding because the statute of limitations expired.

Spaulding, 67, resigned his post at St. Timothy’s in Mesa in June following a diocesan investigation into allegations that he had a sexual relationship with 13-year-old David Pain Jr. from late 1984 to mid-1985. David Pain Sr. made the allegations on behalf of his son, who died last year.

Spaulding no longer lives at the rectory at St. Timothy’s and has been banned from attending Mass, according to Wilkinson. Spaulding’s case will be reviewed and heard by a Vatican-based Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. He will be removed from the priesthood if Rome decides he is guilty of the Pain allegations. The Diocese of Phoenix has yet to forward the case against Spaulding to Rome, and officials there are not saying whether they are looking into other complaints against Spaulding involving sexual abuse of teenage boys.

Paul Pfaffenberger, the director for the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the Diocese of Phoenix, would not comment on the Glendale case or any ongoing cases.

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