News Analysis
Gallup Diocese's List of Known Abusers

Part V of a five-part series

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
Gallup Independent (Gallup, NM)
May 28, 2011

[See the complete series: 1. Diocese Fails to Deliver Answers (5/24/11); 2. Gallup Diocese: In or Out of Compliance? (5/25/11); 3. Gallup Diocese Still Mum on Payouts (5/26/11); 4. At Least 16 Abusers in Gallup Diocese (5/27/11); 5. Gallup Diocese's List of Known Abusers (5/28/11).]

[ William G. Allison | Michael J. Aten | John Boland | James M. Burns | Santino “Tony” A. Casimano | Charles “Chuck” Cichanowicz OFM | David J. Clark | Clement A. Hageman | Julian Hartig OFM | Robert J. Kirsch | Diego Mazon OFM | Bruce MacArthur | Douglas A. McNeill | Francis “Frank” Murphy | Jose H. Rodriguez | John T. Sullivan ]

GALLUP — In 2003, the Gallup Diocesan Review Board on Juvenile Sexual Abuse issued a news release saying five Gallup priests had been accused of sexual abuse.

The board, however, has never had the authority to actually inspect Gallup personnel files, so its members have been dependent on Gallup chancery officials to give them accurate information.

Eight years later, there’s no evidence Gallup chancery officials have provided accurate information to either its own sex abuse review board or to the public. As a result, here are the remaining eight names of the list of 16 known priests associated with the Diocese of Gallup who have been publicly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

However, this list does not include the names of clergy with only suspected abuse allegations or publicly accused clergy who have been returned to ministry. It does not include the names of clergy accused of sexual misconduct, such as those who have sexually assaulted or sexually harassed adult victims. It doesn’t include clergy who have had consensual relationships with adult men or women or clergy who have fathered children. It also does not include clergy accused of “boundary violations” — inappropriate behavior — with minors or adults.

Julian Hartig, O.F.M.: The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Hartig, a Franciscan priest, as an abuser in 2005. Originally from the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist in Cincinnati, Hartig worked at Gallup’s Sacred Heart Cathedral in the early 1950s. In the early 1960s, he worked at the Catholic parish in Lumberton, N.M., which had nearby Native American missions. The Diocese of Gallup and the Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe have confirmed there was at least one credible allegation against Hartig, who died Oct. 14, 1987.

Robert J. Kirsch: Ordained for the Gallup Diocese in January 1957, Kirsch was a New York native who had previously instructed for the Holy Cross Mission (Jesuit Order) in the Northwest. Kirsch worked in Gallup’s Arizona parishes in Flagstaff, Seligman, and Winslow and the New Mexico parish of Aragon before transferring to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. It is not known if Kirsch abused anyone in the Gallup Diocese. One media report has claimed Kirsch was treated by the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, N.M. In 1991, attorney Bruce Pasternak filed a civil lawsuit (Bernalillo County District Court Case No. D-202-CV-9108259) on behalf of a Hispanic woman who claimed Kirsch forced her into a sexual relationship when she was 15 years old in the Santa Fe Archdiocese. A 2002 "60 Minutes" news report on clergy sex abuse included Kirsch’s story. Kirsch died in 2005, but Santa Fe Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan would not allow Kirsch to be buried on Catholic Church property.

Diego Mazon, O.F.M.: This Franciscan priest served in both the Diocese of Gallup and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. While in the Gallup Diocese, Mazon worked in Gallup and San Fidel, N.M., and on the Navajo Nation in St. Michaels and Fort Defiance, Ariz. In 2005, an adult Hispanic woman filed a civil lawsuit against Mazon, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist in Cincinnati (Bernalillo County District Court Case No. D-202-CV-200503804). The plaintiff claimed Mazon repeatedly sexually abused her during her childhood when he was her parish priest in Roswell, N.M. Church officials negotiated a confidential settlement with the victim and made no public statement about Mazon’s removal from ministry at Gallup’s St. Francis of Assisi Church. Instead, parishioners were told Mazon stepped down for health reasons. Mazon is believed to be living at the Franciscans’ Juan Diego Friary, along with former Santa Fe Archbishop Robert Sanchez.

Bruce MacArthur: The Gallup Diocese publicly identified MacArthur as an abuser in 2005. MacArthur is a convicted sex offender and self-admitted pedophile from the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D. A former patient of the Servants of the Paraclete, he abused and raped girls and women across the country for decades. In 1978, MacArthur was sentenced to prison in Texas after being convicted of attempting to rape a disabled nursing home patient. In 2003, MacArthur was discovered living in Gallup, where he volunteered at the Little Sisters of the Poor’s senior care facility, the Missionaries of Charity’s Casa San Martin soup kitchen, and the Casa Reina Prayer Chapel. MacArthur was never authorized to serve as a priest in the Gallup Diocese, and it is unknown if he ever abused here. In 2008, Wisconsin authorities prosecuted MacArthur for old sex abuse crimes. Although he was in his 80s, MacArthur was convicted and sent to jail once again.

Douglas A. McNeill: The Gallup Diocese publicly identified McNeill as an abuser in 2003. Ordained for the Gallup Diocese in May 1970, McNeill was removed from ministry in 1994 when attorney Bruce Pasternack filed a sex abuse lawsuit against him (Bernalillo County District Court Case No. CV-94-06368). The plaintiff was an adult Hispanic man who claimed McNeill sexually abused him in the late 1970s when the victim was a high school student in Thoreau, N.M. According to the complaint, when the victim confronted McNeill about the abuse, McNeill hired an attorney to draw up a release form for the victim to sign in exchange for a $15,000 cash payment, reportedly taken from Thoreau’s St. Bonaventure Indian Mission. The victim refused and filed the lawsuit. Although McNeill has supporters who believe he was innocent, the Diocese of Gallup was forced to produce McNeill’s personnel file which indicated McNeill had allegedly sexually abused two Hispanic brothers in Arizona on a 1971 camping trip. The 1994 lawsuit ended with a settlement agreement for the victim. McNeill’s whereabouts are unknown.

Francis “Frank” Murphy: The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Murphy, a Boston native, as an abuser in 2003. A former monsignor with the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Murphy retired to Cuba, N.M., located within the Diocese of Gallup. Sex abuse allegations against Murphy were chronicled in a series of newspaper articles by the Anchorage Daily News. After moving to New Mexico, Murphy presented himself as a Catholic priest and offered addiction recovery and spiritual retreat counseling. Gallup chancery officials issued a public warning that Murphy was not allowed to function as a priest in the Gallup Diocese. It is unknown if Murphy still lives in New Mexico.

Jose H. Rodriguez: In 2003, the Gallup Diocese publicly identified Rodriguez as an abuser with more than one credible abuse allegation. Rodriguez was ordained for the Gallup Diocese in August 1975 and worked in nearly a dozen parishes in Arizona and New Mexico for about 25 years. His whereabouts are unknown.

John T. Sullivan: The Gallup Diocese publicly identified Sullivan as an abuser in 2005. Sullivan, originally from the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., was a notorious abuser who victimized girls and women across the country for decades. Sullivan was recruited to the Diocese of Gallup by Bishop Bernard Espelage while Sullivan was being treated as a sex abuser by the Servants of the Paraclete. According to documents obtained by the New Hampshire Attorney General, Espelage incardinated Sullivan into the Gallup Diocese in January 1965. Sullivan was assigned to Catholic parishes in Winslow, Seligman, Clarkdale and Kingman. When the Diocese of Phoenix was formed in 1969, Sullivan transferred there and abused more girls. After his retirement, Sullivan was accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl in New Hampshire. Sullivan died in 1999 in San Diego.

Reporter Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola can be contacted at (505) 863-6811 ext. 218 or






















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