The Diocese of San Bernardino, in response to a Pennsylvania grand jury report alleging priests in that state molested more than 1,000 children spanning seven decades, said Wednesday it will release a list of all its priests accused of sexual abuse.
Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange is reviewing a list of disgraced priests it maintains online to determine if more names should be added. And parishioners at a church in North Hollywood demonstrated this week over how the Archdiocese of Los Angeles handled its own child sex abuse scandal.
Diocese of San Bernardino spokesman John Andrews said Wednesday that the list, detailing all priests accused of sexual abuse in the 40-year history of the diocese, should be posted on its website in the next two weeks.
“Thats what were shooting for. Were finalizing the list as we speak,” Andrews said in a telephone interview.
20 priests named in 2002[hhmc]
In 2002, amid the Boston Globes expose on sexual abuse within the Boston Archdiocese, the Diocese of San Bernardino released to the San Bernardino Police Department a list of 20 priests who had been accused of sexual abuse dating back to 1957, before the diocese was formed when Inland Empire parishes and parishioners were represented by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.
The Diocese of San Bernardino, which includes 85 parishes and more than 235,000 parishioners in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, formed in 1978.
Former Catholic priest Paul Shanley looks on as his attorney (not shown) speaks during a pretrial hearing in a courtroom in Cambridge, Mass., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. (AP File Photo/Adam Hunger)
The Rev. Paul R. Shanley, a Roman Catholic priest accused of child molesting, is shown in a 1960s Boston Globe newspaper file photo. Letters show the Archdiocese of Boston arranged a transfer for to a California parish in 1990, assuring them that Shanley had no problems in his past. Documents released Monday, April 8, 2002 in Boston, show the archdiocese had knowledge about Shanleys sexual abuse since the 1980s. (AP Photo/Boston Globe File Photo)
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Our Lady of Hope Parish in San Bernardino, previously known as St. Anne Parish before it merged with two other parishes in the diocese, was once the home of the Rev. Paul Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the priest sex abuse scandal. (File photo by Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
The Rev. Paul Shanley, left, is led by a San Diego County Sheriffs deputy to a courtroom for an extradition hearing, May 3, 2002, in San Diego. Shanley, who is at the epicenter of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, agreed to return to Massachusetts to face charges that he repeatedly molested a boy in the 1980s. (File Photo/Bob Grieser)
In this Feb. 15, 2005 file photo defrocked priest Paul Shanley is led from Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge, Mass. in handcuffs following his sentence of 12 to 15 years in prison for raping a boy repeatedly in the 1980s. Prosecutors in Massachusetts say that Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal, has completed his sentence on child rape charges and will be released from prison this week. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Nico Chavando, 23, of Sherman Oaks, and Colleen Coffey, 50, of Toluca Lake, protest against retired Cardinal Roger Mahony outside his home parish of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood. Sunday, September 16, 2018. (Photo by Matthew Carey/Contributing photographer)
Demonstrators hand out leaflets Sunday morning at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood, demanding retired Cardinal Roger Mahony face increased sanctions for the child sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Archdiocese of Los Angeles during his leadership. Sunday, September 16, 2018. (Photo by Matthew Carey, contributing photographer)
Steve Serra, 66, of Mission Viejo, protests against retired Cardinal Roger Mahony outside the prelates home parish of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood. Sunday, September 16, 2018. (Photo by Matthew Carey/Contributing photographer)
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The latest disclosure was prompted by a Pennsylvania grand jury report released last month indicating more than 300 priests had molested at least 1,000 children over a 70-year period, and that there likely were thousands more victims.The 18-month investigation covered six of the states dioceses.
“There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. But never on this scale,” the grand jury report said. “For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere.”
New list includes names since 1978[hhmc]
What differentiates the latest disclosure by the San Bernardino diocese from its 2002 disclosure to police is that the latest list only accounts for accused priests within the diocese since its formation 40 years ago, Andrews said.
“This is a different time period. A lot of those names (in 2002) were centered on allegations that happened even before we were a diocese. There wont be any allegations on this list that were prior to 1978,” Andrews said.
Among San Bernardinos most notorious cases of sexual abuse by a priest is that of the Rev. Edward Ball, a former priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church and Our Lady of the Assumption Church, both in San Bernardino, who in 2000 pleaded no contest to molesting three altar boys in the 1970s.
Another priest, Gustavo Benson, formerly of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Barstow, was accused of molesting two teenage boys at his home and giving two other boys beer and wine coolers at a cabin he owned. He pleaded guilty in 1987 to molesting a 13-year-old boy at his home and was sentenced to probation.
After undergoing treatment in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, Benson was transferred to St. San Judas Tadeo Church in Ensenada, Mexico, where he worked as a pastor. In 2002, the Rev. Howard Lincoln, then spokesman for the Diocese of San Bernardino, said the diocese informed the Tijuana Diocese of Bensons criminal background when he was transferred, and never “knowingly shuffled a priest to another diocese or overseas without telling another diocese of a priests criminal background.”
In 1994, Benson inquired about the possibility of returning to San Bernardino, but his request was denied.
“It is impossible for you to serve as a priest in the Diocese of San Bernardino, today,” a San Bernardino bishop informed Benson in a June 1, 1994, letter. “At the present time, I cannot grant you faculties nor approve of your preaching for mission appeals, here in this diocese.”
Sweeping reforms imposed[hhmc]
After the Boston Globe broke its story in 2002, the Diocese of San Bernardino implemented sweeping reforms, including a policy mandating that any report of sexual abuse or misconduct by a priest be reported to police within 24 hours.
“If we get a definitive statement from a (potential) victim, were going to call the police to determine the veracity of the allegation,” Andrews said.
The diocese also formed its Office of Child and Youth Protection, overseen by Sister Cathy White. The office oversees enforcement of its policies, fields complaints and investigates allegations of sexual abuse. It also provides training to its ministry, at all diocesan parishes and schools, on recognizing the signs of sexual abuse and grooming behaviors by priests, Andrews said.
Andrews said the list of priests that will soon be posted on the dioceses website will indicate which accused priests were charged and/or convicted of crimes.
In 2002, it was learned that the Rev. Paul Shanley, an accused priest from the Boston Archdiocese, had been transferred in 1990 to St. Anne Catholic Church in San Bernardino, where he worked as a supply priest until 1993. The church has since merged with two other parishes and now goes by the name Our Lady of Hope.
At the time of Shanleys transfer, the Boston Archdiocese did not inform the Diocese of San Bernardino about Shanleys history of alleged sexual abuse, and maintained he was a “priest in good standing.” However, no allegations of sexual abuse surfaced against Shanley while he was in San Bernardino, according to the diocese.
Orange County maintains online list[hhmc]
The Diocese of Orange serving, about 1.6 million Catholics in 62 Orange County parishes, first released a list in 2004 of priests removed from the ministry amid credible allegations of sexual abuse, diocese spokesman Hank Evers said Wednesday.
The list was updated in 2016 and currently includes 14 names. An independent oversight review board is attempting to determine if more names need to be added, Evers said.
“The diocese takes accusations of misconduct and abuse extremely seriously,” he added. “We are proactive and are trying to be transparent.”
As part of 2007 settlement of $660 million to more than 500 victims, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has released about 12,000 pages documents detailing allegations of molestation against children, some going back decades.
Despite the transparency, some parishioners are dissatisfied with how the archdiocese has handled discipline for priests suspected of sexual abuse.
Protest against Cardinal Mahony[hhmc]
On Sunday, about 20 protesters demonstrated outside St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood, the home parish of Cardinal Roger Mahony, demanding the retired prelate face harsher sanctions for his role in a child sex abuse scandal that engulfed the archdiocese during his leadership.
Many protesters said Mahony should resign as cardinal and be prevented from celebrating Mass at St. Charles Borromeo.
Mahony, 82, served as archbishop of Los Angeles, overseeing the nations largest Catholic archdiocese, from 1985 to 2011.
In 2013, Mahony apologized to victims after church documents were released that demonstrated how he and other archdiocese officials covered up sexual abuse and shielded some priests from prosecution.
José Gomez, Mahonys successor as archbishop of Los Angeles, rebuked the cardinal in 2013, but later clarified that Mahony remains “in good standing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to minister to the faithful without restriction.”
Steve Serra, 66, who traveled from Mission Viejo to participate in Sundays demonstration, said Mahony should face severe discipline. “You dont deter wrongful conduct by a little slap on the wrist. … This is no way to run a church to keep him as a prominent figure,” he said.
Officials with the archdiocese could not be reached for comment Wednesday regarding the protest.
Freelance writer Matthew Carey contributed to this report.