Granger Reeling from Priest Issue
By John Fannin
June 14, 2017
|The Granger parish is in transition following a priest’s removal.|
|Rev. Gustavo Gomez Santos|
Area residents are still in shock over a local priest’s dismissal following allegations of sexual abuse.
#The Rev. Gustavo Gomez Santos, 51, served Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, 604 E. Ave., and offered Spanish-language mass in Mabton. He was removed from ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, Yakima Diocese.
#Bishop Joseph Tyson said the action was taken because the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor “… was determined to be credible,” Tyson said.
#“The whole situation is bad for the victims, the priest, the whole church,” said Al Ramos, who attends mass in Zillah. “It’s bad for everybody.”
#Gomez Santos was placed on leave May 5 after Yakima County Sheriff’s Office detectives shared an interview with a 21-year-old former Mattawa resident who reported he had been fondled by the priest five or six years earlier, while the priest was serving as pastor of St.
#Juan Diego Parish in Cowiche, Tyson said.
#Sheriff’s officials determined the incident could not be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations, prompting the Diocese investigation, he said.
#As a result, Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic said Tuesday’s announcement by the diocese came as a surprise.
#“I know nothing of this currently and I have not been contacted before about this possible investigation,” Brusic said.
#Although criminal charges won’t apparently be pursued against Gomez Santos, who has maintained his innocence, some in town are glad the Diocese took action.
#“It’s a good thing he’s gone,” Brian Ortiz said. “Hell has no boundaries.”
#Hector Flores is still trying to make sense of it all.
#“It’s weird,” the Parker resident said. “I was in that church once for a quinceanera.”
#Father Tomas Vidal, associate priest in Grandview, will be parochial vicar full-time to Granger and Mabton starting July 1.
#The Catholic church’s sexual abuse hotline is 888-276-4490.