Diocese identifies 15 priests accused of abuse
The clergymen were the subjects of sexual misconduct allegations, according to the Roman Catholic Church here
By C. T. Revere
June 22, 2002
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson is releasing the names of 15 priests against whom allegations of sexual misconduct have been reported.
The revelations were made to clear the air with parishioners, other priests and the public and to encourage people to come forward with any untold improper activity by clergy serving in the diocese, said Bishop Gerald Kicanas.
"We want to bring to full light all that we know from the past in terms of any allegations of sexual abuse of a minor brought against any of our priests who have served here in the Diocese of Tucson," Kicanas said.
"The hope is to protect children and to do that by inviting anyone who has an allegation of sexual abuse by a member of the church to come forward so that the allegation can be addressed," he said.
Making public all substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct by priests is part of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People agreed upon in Dallas last week.
The Tucson Citizen is not naming the priests because most have never been charged with a crime.
Kicanas said church officials are satisfied that the allegations are valid.
"Most of these allegations have not been tried in a court of law. On the other hand, we have reason to believe that there's credibility to those allegations," Kicanas said. "All of them have been made known to civil authorities."
Most of the priests accused of sexual misconduct worked in the diocese decades ago. Two are still active investigations. Letters will be sent to parishes where the accused priests worked, to inform parishioners of the allegations.
A separate letter will be sent to parishes where no priests have been accused, encouraging parishioners to come forward with any untold misconduct, he said.
"It may be that new allegations will come forward in which case we will proceed in the same way," he said. "We'll turn the allegations over to the civil authorities, and if they find substance to the allegations, we will have that priest placed on administrative leave and then try and investigate the situation ourselves and determine if any action needs to be taken."
The church is offering free counseling to any victim of abuse by an employee or volunteer in the diocese, Kicanas said.
"Part of being helpful is to offer some opportunity for counseling in order that some of the hurt and pain they feel can be healed," he said.