Deceased Benedictine Accused of Abuse

By Eric Meisfjord
Inland Register
November 10, 2005

Father Gerald Dezurick, a Benedictine priest from Oregon, served in Eastern Washington in the late 1970s. He is the subject of an allegation of sexual abuse during his ministry in the Spokane Diocese. (IR photo from Mount Angel Abbey) The Diocese of Spokane learned last month that a Benedictine priest who had served temporarily at Sacred Heart Parish, Othello, had been accused of sexual abuse in Western Oregon.

Benedictine Father Gerald Dezurick of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon served at the Othello parish from 1977 until 1980.

When word was received of the Oregon allegations, Bishop Skylstad wrote a letter to the people of Sacred Heart Parish. The letter was read at the Masses the weekend of Oct. 15-16.

The bishop wrote, "As our diocese struggles with the issue of sexual abuse, I have often asked that victims of sexual abuse come forward. I have asked the victims to contact the diocese and let us know about the abuse so that they can begin the process of healing and reconciliation.. If any of you experienced abuse by Father Gerald, or by any other priest, or by any employee of the diocese, I hope you will contact the diocese so that healing and reconciliation can begin."

Father Gerald died in 1986.

In addition to his time in Othello, he also had several assignments in Oregon: as a teacher at Mount Angel Preparatory High School; assistant pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mount Angel; as assistant pastor and high school teacher in Tillamook; pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Agatha parishes in Portland; and pastor of St. Pius X Parish, Moab, Utah, where he was pastor at the time of his death.

In his letter, the bishop expressed again his sorrow for the harm caused by clergy sexual abuse.

To report sexual misconduct to the Diocese of Spokane, contact: Mary Butler, Victims Assistance Coordinator: 353-0442.

Father Steve Dublinski, Vicar General: 358-7303.

Or write to either individual at: P.O. Box 1453, Spokane, WA 99210-1453.

Mark the letter "personal and confidential."


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