Catholic Priest Accused of Abuse at Santa Clarita Church after Transfer from Scotland
By Devon Miller
January 14, 2019
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles confirmed Monday that Father Joseph Dunne was accused of sexual misconduct of a female minor in January 1993 while he was still at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) in Newhall.
“Her parents immediately reported the matter to the school, Archdiocese and law enforcement,” said a statement from the Archdiocese.
Dunne was employed by OLPH “without permission from or notification to the Archdiocese” from summer of 1992 until the allegations arose in January 1993, when he was removed from the parish.
“Fr. Dunne was instructed to remain in residence without ministering during the law enforcement investigation. The Archdiocese also reported the incident to law enforcement and cooperated in the investigation,” said the statement.
Law enforcement did not press charges, according to the Archdiocese.
After receiving the allegation in 1993, church officials contacted the Archdiocese of Glasgow and learned that there had been previous allegations of misconduct.
Dunne was expected to return to Glasgow, but Archdiocese files contain no information concerning his departure.
The current whereabouts of Dunne is unknown, according to church officials.
These allegations have been brought to light months after similar sexual abuse accusations of four other priests at OLPH.
Since 2002, the Archdiocese has established strict policies and protocols to ensure that when reports are received, the allegation is reported to law enforcement and the Archdiocese cooperates fully with the investigation.
The accused priest is immediately removed from ministry pending the result of the investigation, according to officials.
In cases where the statute of limitations does not allow for criminal prosecution, retired FBI investigators retained by the Archdiocese investigate the matter and report to the Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board, which makes final recommendations.
The Archdiocese has also instituted abuse prevention and reporting programs for adults and minors, which include fingerprinting and background checks for employees and volunteers at parishes and schools, as well as clergy formation programs to prevent abuse, according to officials.