Gallup Diocese Publishes Updated List of Sexually Abusive Priests

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Gallup Independent
August 2, 2005

Gallup -- The Gallup Diocese has published an updated list of priests associated with the diocese who have credible allegations of clergy sexual abuse; however, the updated list omits two names of men who have been publicly identified in the past as abusers.

When Joseph Baca of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests met with Bishop Donald E. Pelotte of the Diocese of Gallup in May 2005, he presented the bishop with a list of 18 names of priests who had been associated with the diocese and were thought by SNAP to be possible abusers.

Pelotte agreed to print the names of priests with credible allegations.

In the June 2005 issue of The Voice of the Southwest, the official diocesan newspaper, ten of those names were listed as men with credible clergy abuse allegations. Nothing was said about the omitted names. And surprisingly, one of the omitted names was of a priest who had been publicly identified by the diocese as an abuser and whose alleged victim was paid a substantial settlement in the 1990s.

The following is the list of sexual abusers identified in The Voice of the Southwest article:
* Michael Aten: The Gallup Diocesan Review Board for Juvenile Sexual Abuse publicly identified Aten in a May 16, 2003 press release. The diocese has received more than one credible allegation against Aten, who is deceased.

* James Burns: The review board also publicly identified Burns in the same press release. Based on research by The Independent, Burns may have victimized more than a dozen children. He is currently completing an 18-month prison sentence in Arizona for the sexual abuse of a boy in Winslow, Ariz. in the 1980s.

* Clement A. Hageman: The Diocese of Gallup has identified Hageman as having more than one credible allegation made against him. Hageman is deceased.

* Jose Rodriguez: The review board publicly identified Rodriguez in its press release. More than one credible allegation has been made against Rodriguez.

* William C. Allison: The Diocese of Gallup has said there was one credible allegation against Allison, who is deceased.

* Julian Hartig: The Diocese of Gallup and Albuquerque's Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe have both confirmed there was one credible allegation against Hartig, who is deceased.

* John T. Sullivan: This deceased priest was a notorious abuser who victimized many girls and young women in numerous dioceses around the country. He served in the Diocese of Gallup for eight years before transferring to the Diocese of Phoenix. The Diocese of Gallup has said that no victim has come forward from this diocese.

* Francis "Frank" Murphy: Last reported to be a resident of Cuba, N.M., Murphy is a retired former monsignor from the Archdiocese of Anchorage. The subject of a series of newspaper articles by the Anchorage Daily News, Murphy is reported to have more than one credible allegation against him in Alaska. He only served as a priest in the Gallup Diocese for a very brief time and no allegations have been brought against him since he moved here.

* Santino "Tony" A. Casimano: Ordained in the Diocese of Gallup in August 1975, Casimano served here for only about a year before moving to California and then becoming a Navy chaplain. While in California, but still a Gallup priest, Casimano allegedly abused at least two boys. The Diocese of Orange settled those two clergy abuse lawsuits earlier this year.

* Bruce MacArthur: The former priest from the Diocese of Sioux Falls is a convicted sex offender and a self-admitted pedophile. He was convicted of attempting to rape a disabled nursing home patient in Texas, and he admitted to sexually abusing at least 30 girls. He never served as a priest in the Diocese of Gallup, and he has no known victims here. However, The Independent discovered MacArthur living in Gallup in 2003. He was volunteering in the kitchens of Casa San Martin and Villa Guadalupe, the Little Sisters of the Poor's nursing home.

The following two men have been previously publicly identified as abusers but the Diocese of Gallup did not list them in The Voice of the Southwest.

* Douglas McNeill: This former Gallup priest was identified by the review board in its press release and later by diocese officials. Deacon Timoteo Lujan, the chancellor of the diocese, told The Independent in December 2003 that Saint Bonaventure School in Thoreau, N.M. paid a $135,000 settlement to McNeill's alleged victim. It is not known why McNeill's name was not included in the diocese's list.

* James Schlaffer: A Navajo woman contacted The Independent with a story of being abused by Schlaffer in July 1974 while she was a patient at the Gallup Indian Medical Center. Schlaffer, a priest from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, served as a hospital chaplain here from June 1974 to May 1975. When contacted, the Milwaukee Archdiocese confirmed there had been other allegations against Schlaffer involving unwanted sexual advances to adult women. Perhaps because the victim was 18 years old at the time of the alleged incident, the Diocese of Gallup did not include Schlaffer in this list.

Other than James Schlaffer, this list does not include the names of anyone alleged to have sexually abused, assaulted, or harassed only adult victims. Just as its name indicates, the Gallup Diocesan Review Board for Juvenile Sexual Abuse does not have the authority to address allegations involving adult victims


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