Ex-priest Indicted on Charges of Sexually Abusing 2 Boys in Phoenix Diocese
By Lauren Castle
January 9, 2020
|Undated file photo of the Rev. John "Jack" Spaulding. (Photo: No credit)|
A former Catholic priest was indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury Thursday on charges of sexually abusing two boys under age 15 more than a dozen years ago.
John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding faces six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child between the years of 2003 and 2007.
Spaulding, 74, was removed from ministry from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix in 2011. While serving in the diocese, he was assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale, Christ the King in Mesa, Santa Teresita in El Mirage, St. Louis the King in Glendale, St. Raphael in Glendale, St. Helen in Glendale, St. Maria Goretti in Scottsdale, St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix, St. Gabriel the Archangel in Cave Creek and St. Timothy in Mesa.
He was a priest at St. Gabriel’s and at St. Timothy’s when the alleged acts took place, according to a statement from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
He previously told The Arizona Republic that he had no comment on the allegations.
He did not respond to calls on Thursday.
“It is my commitment to this community that we will hold criminals accountable and protect the rights of victims,” County Attorney Allister Adel said in a statement. “It is an unspeakable thing to take away the innocence of a child. This indictment sends a clear message that we will hold those who commit these heinous acts accountable.”
According to a statement by the diocese, a report from an adult was made in June 2019 on alleged abuse that occurred when he was a child. The diocese contacted law enforcement and told the family to make a report with officials.
“Since making the report, the Diocese has cooperated with the law enforcement investigation. In order to avoid any possible interference with the ongoing legal process, we are unable to comment further,” the statement said.
This is not the first time allegations have been made against Spaulding.
Spaulding had at least four allegations against him in 2011.
According to a 2011 report by The Republic, the diocese took almost a year to investigate after the first allegation was made before it considered it credible. Spaulding was suspended and placed on administrative leave.
An October 2011 diocese community notification statement said the adults were under the age of 13 at the time of the abuse, in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the diocese still had Spaulding on administrative leave at the time of the notification.
In 2012, a civil lawsuit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court by a father who claimed his son was abused by the priest. The case was dismissed in 2014.
A Special Tribunal was held in the Catholic Church for allegations made against Spaulding in 2014. He was found guilty for "sins against the Sixth Commandment with a minor." It was recommended that he be dismissed from the clerical state.
His case is pending with the Catholic Church.
Republic reporter Bree Burkitt contributed to this report.
Have thoughts about Arizona’s legal system? Reach criminal justice reporter Lauren Castle at Lauren.Castle@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter: @Lauren_Castle.