Tucson Diocese Removes 2nd Parish Priest

By Joseph A. Reaves
Arizona Republic (Phoenix)
October 15, 2002

For the second time in two months, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson has removed a priest from active duty because of allegations of sexual abuse with children.

Bishop Manuel D. Moreno announced in a letter to parishioners during the weekend that he had taken the "very sad but very necessary" step of removing the Rev. Julian Sanz from Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas.

Moreno refused to discuss specifics of the allegations against Sanz but said he notified Douglas police, who are investigating.

Sanz, a native of Spain, was ordained in 1977 and came to Arizona in 1980. He served in parishes in Pirtleville, Yuma, Clifton, Wellton and San Luis before becoming pastor at Immaculate Conception in Douglas in July 2001.

Another priest from the Tucson Diocese, the Rev. Juan Guillen, pleaded not guilty last week to 12 felony charges of molesting three young boys. He was associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Yuma until Aug. 20.

Since July, when Moreno announced strict guidelines for dealing with sex abuse, the Tucson Diocese has turned over what it calls "credible evidence" against 19 priests accused of molesting children. Five of those priests died before the allegations were made public and 12 others were retired or inactive.

In Phoenix, where Bishop Thomas O'Brien has vowed to "lead the nation" in dealing with sex abuse, the diocese has identified six priests accused of misconduct.

Three already were in prison and two others were removed from ministry years ago.


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