Prelate: Bishop Can Ask for Dismissal from Priesthood of Pinoy in US Molestation Case

Gma News
February 17, 2012

A senior prelate said the Philippine bishop who ordained the Filipino priest convicted of child molestation in the United States should initiate the dismissal process from the clerical state as penalty.

Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said the bishop of the diocese where Father Jose Superiaso, 57, was ordained should be the one to file charges against him.

Superiaso was ordained in the Archdiocese of Manila.

"The first move would have to come from his bishop in the Philippines, meaning to say his bishop will be the one with the authority to file charges against the priest for the imposition of penal sanctions," Cruz said.

Superiaso, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for molesting a girl in California in 2003, may be deported after being freed from prison earlier this year.

Cruz said the bishop may ask his own tribunal of first instance to process the case and later elevate it to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) National Tribunal of Appeals, which Cruz currently heads.

"The bishop could also at once elevate the case to the National Tribunal of Appeals in order to decide on the penal case in the first instance for subsequent transmission to the Holy See to the Vatican," Cruz said.

Cruz said Superiaso himself may also formally ask his bishop for dispensation.

'It's called dispensation from Church obligations wherein he will ask to be released from his priestly obligations…it means he can no longer say Mass and administer the sacraments," he said.

Superiaso's case According to a report of the US-based news site SFGate on Thursday, Superiaso went to the US in 1989 to study at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley. He served at three churches in the San Francisco Archdiocese:

  • St. Andrew's,
  • Our Lady of the Pillar in Half Moon Bay, and
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary in Belmont.
In 2005, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to committing lewd acts with a child under 14 years old.

He was given credit for the almost 2 1/2 years he spent in jail before his conviction, the SFGate report said.

According to authorities, in 2003, when Superiaso was living in Santa Fe, N.M., he received a call from a young woman he molested 10 years earlier at St. Andrew.

The young woman, then in her 20s, taped her conversations with Superiaso who admitted having a sexual relationship with her when she was underage.

SFGate said the woman asked Superiaso to return to Daly City and when he did, he was arrested. - VVP, GMA News


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