Opinion in Fernando v. [Redacted]

By Judge Deborah S. Eyler, Judge Robert A. Zarnoch, and Judge Albert Joseph Matricciani, Jr.
Maryland Court of Appeals
October 27, 2008

RecordFax 8-1027-06

This opinion in a child custody case includes information on the alleged abuse of two very young brothers by Rev. Fernando Cristancho, and the possible abuse of a third boy. The brothers are Cristancho's children. According to the opinion, Child Protective Services concluded that sexual abuse of the brothers was "indicated." Cristancho denies the abuse allegations. The abuse is alleged to have included oral sex performed by Cristancho on the brothers when they were under five years of age, as well as oral penetration by Cristancho.

This opinion is referenced in Priest Loses Custody Dispute to Woman Who Bore Triplets with Donor Eggs, by Caryn Tamber, Daily Record, October 27, 2008; and Priest Loses Custody of Triplets Fathered by Donating Sperm—Accused of Abusing Those Children, by Carolyn Peirce, Baltimore Examiner, October 30, 2008. See also our detailed career history of Cristancho.

View the text of the Cristancho opinion.

Note: We have redacted the opinion to remove the names of the alleged victims and other identifying information. The table at the base of this page lists the labels that we use in our redactions.

The opinion identifies several officials of the Baltimore archdiocese and the Arlington diocese:

Msgr. James Barker – Informed by A-2 in 2006 that one of Cristancho's sons had accused Cristancho of sexual abuse. At the time of the report, Barker was pastor of St. Ignatius in Hickory and Vice Chairman of the Presbyteral Council of the Baltimore archdiocese. Barker had been pastor of St. Ignatius when Cristancho was fired in 7/02. Barker was Director of the Vocation Office when Cristancho was incardinated by the Baltimore archdiocese and assigned to St. Ignatius. (See opinion, p. 8.)

Rev. Parrick M. Carrion – Informed by Barker of the allegations against Cristancho. Urged A-2 to notify the Bel Air police. Carrion was the Director of the Division of Clergy Personnel in the Baltimore archdiocese. (See opinion, p. 9.)

Mark E. Hermann, Esq. – Told CPS investigator that Cristancho's sexual misconduct in the Arlington diocese during the late 1990s involved a young woman, not a minor. Hermann was the Chancellor and General Counsel of the Arlington diocese. The opinion describes Hermann as counsel for Msgr. Mark Mealey. (See opinion, p. 10.)

Msgr. Mark S. Mealey OSFS – Vicar General for Administration and Moderator of the Curia in the Arlington diocese. (See opinion, p. 10.)

Redaction abbreviations:

Def   Birth mother of the children and defendant in the case. Cristancho was attempting to have the children returned to his custody.
M-1   Male triplet 1, who first described the alleged abuse to his birth mother in 2005, when he was not yet four years old.
M-2   Male triplet 2.
F   Female triplet.
A-1   Aquaintance 1, who agreed to give the mother a place to stay in 2003, if she would notify the police immediately about her concerns regarding Cristancho.
A-2   Babysitter to whom M-1 spoke about the alleged abuse in 2006. Mother of A-1.



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