Snap: Release "Secret Archives" of Abusing Priests

By Jane Gargas
Yakima Herald-Republic
October 21, 2011

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A group critical of the Catholic Church's handling of sex abuse cases Thursday called for the Yakima Diocese to release the names of all local clergy accused of abuse.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests urged Bishop Joseph Tyson to make public "secret archives" of clergy with allegations of abuse made against them.

"If he's a real man of God, then he'll do it," said John Shuster, one of three members of SNAP who gathered outside the Yakima County Courthouse to make their message known.

They asked the diocese to publish the names of priests accused of abuse on its website and visit parishes where accused clergy worked to urge victims to go to the police.

The Rev. Robert Siler, diocese chief of staff, said Wednesday that a few dioceses around the country have chosen to publicize the names of accused priests, but the Yakima Diocese has no plans to do so.

He pointed out that the local diocese has operated a confidential hotline for reporting abuse for about 10 years and has provided training to personnel on proper conduct and what to do if abuse is suspected. "We feel our outreach efforts are adequate," Siler said.

In a news release, SNAP representatives said there are victims in Yakima who may be "suffering in shame, isolation and self-blame" and argued that the release of names on the "secret archives" would provide public accountability.

Siler countered that the diocese doesn't have a secret archive.

"We maintain confidential personnel files of employees but not a secret archive," he said.

Siler explained that the diocese doesn't keep a master list of those accused of abuse. However, he said he's seen a copy of a list of Yakima priests who have had allegations made against them.

"It (the list) appears to come from discovery materials from lawyers representing clients (pursuing cases against the diocese)," Siler said.

Discovery is a legal process where attorneys on both sides of a case collect information and uncover evidence before going to trial.

Although he said he has seen a list of priests, Siler said he wouldn't comment on it because of pending litigation.

Thomas Frey, a Seattle attorney who represents the diocese in sex abuse cases, also emphasized that there is no secret archive.

"We've been asked a million times where do we hide the list of terrible priests," he said. "It doesn't exist."

A list assembled by lawyers working on abuse lawsuits involving the diocese and obtained earlier by the Yakima Herald-Republic contains a number of names of diocese personnel alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct with minors prior to 1979. The following list names only those who have been named in lawsuits.

* The Rev. Dale Calhoun was the subject of a lawsuit filed against the diocese Oct. 3 by a Yakima Valley man who alleges he was sexually abused in the 1970s by Calhoun. The diocese previously settled two other claims made against Calhoun and provided counseling to a third person. Calhoun no longer lives here and does not function as a cleric.

* The Rev. Richard Scully was alleged to have molested two boys in the 1970s; the diocese settled both cases. Scully is retired.

* The Rev. David King, a Jesuit, was accused by a man from Western Washington in a 2006 lawsuit of repeatedly molesting him when he was a student at Yakima's Marquette High School (which no longer exists). The Yakima Diocese and the Jesuit Oregon Province were also named as defendants, but the Yakima Diocese was subsequently dismissed from the lawsuit. King is deceased.

* The Rev. Anthony King was sued by a man from Tukwila in 2007 for sexually molesting him beginning in the 1960s when he was a 14-year-old student at St. Peter the Apostle Seminary in Cowiche, which has since been closed. The diocese settled the suit. King is deceased.

* The Rev. Richard O'Connor was accused of molesting the same boy as the one in the Anthony King case. The diocese also settled this case. O'Connor is deceased.

* Pedro Ybarra, a church volunteer, was alleged by a woman to have molested her when she was 9 years old in the 1960s in Sunnyside. The woman brought suit against the diocese in 2007, which settled the case for $5,000.

* The Rev. Michael Simpson was the subject of lawsuits filed by four women, saying they were sexually abused by the now-deceased Toppenish priest when they were children in the 1960s. They settled their claims with the diocese for $200,000 in 2008.

* The Rev. Frank Duffy, a Jesuit, is the subject of a lawsuit filed in 2010. A woman claimed she was molested in 1977 while a student at St. Joseph/Marquette School. The Yakima Diocese previously acknowledged that Duffy was accused in 2008 of molesting four girls under the age of 10 while serving in two parishes in the Portland Archdiocese in the 1960s. He is deceased. The lawsuit remains unsettled.

* The Rev. Joseph Graaff is being sued by a woman who said she was abused as a child by Graaff in Waterville, which is part of the Yakima Diocese. The lawsuit, filed in 2010, alleges abuse occurred from 1972-74, when the girl was about ages 9 to 11. Graaff is deceased. The lawsuit remains unsettled.

Not on the list, but previously reported in the Herald-Republic are several other clergy members who have had allegations made against them:

* Christopher Breen, a priest who served at St. Paul Cathedral, was accused of molesting a former Yakima resident when she was a teenager 40 years ago. The lawsuit, filed in 2008, was settled by the diocese in March for $287,500. Breen left the priesthood in 1978 and lives in Western Washington.

* The Rev. John J. Morse was named by at least 16 people who claim they were sexually abused by him while students at St. Mary's School near Omak. He was part of the landmark case the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus in Portland settled this year, paying out $166.1 million to roughly 450 complainants, all Native Americans. Morse served in Yakima at various times in the late 1960s, early 1970s and in 1994. He lives in Spokane and has denied all charges. No claims have been made to the Yakima Diocese about him.

* The Rev. Jose Joaquin Estrada Arango, who served in Wapato and Yakima from 2001-03, pleaded guilty in December 2003 to felony sexual abuse of a teenage girl in Morrow County, Ore., and was subsequently deported to his home country of Colombia.

* Deacon Aarn Ramrez was under investigation for molesting a teenage boy in Zillah. Authorities said he fled to Mexico in 1999 before he could be charged.

* The Rev. Darell Mitchell left Yakima in 2004 while under criminal investigation for having photos of nude boys, elementary age to teenagers, on his computer. About a dozen photos were turned over to police by the diocese. The FBI and police investigated, but no charges were ever filed. He later returned to Yakima and serves as director of Calvary Cemetery.


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