Former Area Priest Added to List of Credibly Accused
By Donald Jaramillo
May 10, 2017
CIBOLA COUNTY – “When I became the Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup, I committed to ensuring that the children in this Diocese and in the Parishes, Missions or Schools that operate within the Diocese were protected,” said Bishop James S. Wall in a letter to the affected parishes and survivors. “In the past the Diocese published names of those working within the Diocese against whom there were credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.”
On Wednesday evening, Bishop Wall and the Diocese of Gallup added three more names to the list of 31, including Fr. Diego Mazon, OFM who was assigned to the St. Joseph Church in San Fidel between 1980 and 1981. The other two names are Brother Mark Schornack, OFM, who is now deceased according to a press release from the Diocese, and Fr. Ephraim Beltramea, OFM. Schornack was primarily responsible for a church in Arizona while Beltramea was at St. Francis in Gallup.
The list now at 34 is available on the Diocese website at www.dioceseofgallup.org.
“The publication of additional names does not mean that our vigilance and continued investigation ends here as it remains ongoing,” Wall added in the release. “The survivors who have come forward should be commended for their bravery and courage, and I express my deepest apologies for the actions of those who violated the trust of the survivors and the parishioners within the Diocese by committing these terrible acts.”
The Bishop ended his statement by emphasizing his commitment to the church and encouraging others to join him. He said, “I reaffirm my commitment to protect our children and my commitment to continue to assist those who have been harmed. I call upon all the faithful to participate in our programs designed to provide a network of protection for our children from the many sources that can bring them harm. Together we can provide a safe environment for all.”
In 2014, the Diocese of Gallup took a major step in releasing an additional 20 names of priests to an already list of 11 who were linked to sex abuse cases in New Mexico and Arizona. Bishop Wall reportedly said he made the list public to protect children and in the spirit of transparency. In 2012, the Diocese filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in large part to a reportedly 13 lawsuits over the pedophile priests.
Besides Mazon, other priests who have been credibly accused of child sex abuse and who have worked in the Cibola County, include: Fr. Michael Baca, OFM (deceased); Fr. John Boland; Fr. Conran Runnebaum, OFM (deceased); and, Fr. Samuel Wilson (deceased).
The Diocese of Gallup strongly encourages anyone harmed by the sexual misconduct of an employee or clergy within the diocese to contact law enforcement. The church also welcomes anyone to contact the Victims Assistance Coordinator of the Diocese of Gallup at 505-906-7537.