Press Room

Press Release July 22, 2019

Bishop Vasa's Letter to Congregations July 21st

Bishop Vasa Additional Infortmation / Narrative 7-22-2019


Archives:
Diocese of Santa Rosa – OFFICIAL APPOINTMENTS for 2019

Reverend Michael Culligan - Retiring from Active Pastoral Ministry effective Monday, June 24, 2019.
Reverend Denis O’Sullivan - Retiring from Active Pastoral Ministry effective Monday, July 1, 2019.
Reverend Lou Nichols - Retiring from Active Pastoral Ministry effective Monday, June 24, 2019.
Reverend Michaelraj Philominsamy - Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Santa Rosa effective Monday, July 1, 2019.
Reverend Fergal McGuinness, JV - Pastor of Saint Apollinaris Parish in Napa, effective June 24, 2019.
Reverend Balaswamy Govindu - Pastor of Saint Philip the Apostle Parish, Occidental and in charge of Saint Teresa of Avila Mission, effective June 24, 2019.
Reverend Carlos Ortega - Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Windsor effective Monday, July 1, 2019.
Reverend Gabriel Barrera - Parochial Administrator of Saint Aloysius Parish, Point Arena and in charge of Mary Star of the Sea Mission, Gualala, effective July 1, 2019.
Reverend Gerard Gormley - Pastor of Saint James Parish, Petaluma effective June 24, 2019
Reverend Monsignor Daniel Whelton, VG - Temporary Parochial Administrator of Saint Sebastian Parish, Sebastopol effective May 15, 2019 through June 24, 2019 and Temporary Parochial Administrator of Saint James Parish, Petaluma effective June 24, 2019 until Father Gerard Gormley recovers from surgery.
Reverend Mario Valencia - Parochial Administrator of Saint Sebastian Parish, Sebastopol effective June 24, 2019
Reverend Eliseo Avendaño - Pastor of Saint Mary Immaculate Parish, Lakeport and in charge of Saint Peter Mission, Kelseyville, effective June 24, 2019
Reverend Daniel Roa - Parochial Administrator of Saint Joan of Arc Parish and in charge of Holy Family Mission, Rutherford, effective June 24, 2019.
Reverend Robert Torczynski - Parochial Administrator of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, Mendocino and in charge of Blessed Sacrament Mission, Elk, effective June 24, 2019.
Reverend Jeffrey Keyes - Chaplain to Sonoma State Newman Center effective June 24, 2019.
Reverend Ramon Pons - Temporarily released to serve in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, effective June 24, 2019.
Reverend David Jenuwine - Parochial Vicar of Saint Vincent de Paul Parish, Petaluma effective June 24, 2019.
Reverend John Boettcher - Parochial Vicar of Saint Eugene Cathedral, Santa Rosa effective June 24, 2019.
Reverend Peter Reddy - Parochial Administrator of Saint Mary of the Angels Parish, Ukiah and in charge of Saint Elizabeth Mission, Philo and Saint Francis Mission, Hopland, effective July 1, 2019.
Reverend Anthony Madanu, SVD - Parochial Vicar of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Santa Rosa effective Monday, July 1, 2019.
Reverend Jose Isaac Alejandro de la Cruz - Parochial Vicar of Saint John the Baptist Parish, Napa, effective Monday, July 1, 2019.
Reverend Aaron DePeyster - Parochial Vicar of Saint Apollinaris Parish in Napa, effective June 24, 2019.
(Pending) - Parochial Vicar Saint Mary of the Angels Parish, Ukiah, Saint Elizabeth Mission, Philo and Saint Francis Mission, Hopland.


Bishop Vasa's Stetement describing Santa Rosa Diocese's Victims Compensation Program


Here is the Newswire link for the six California Catholic Dioceses Announcement of a New Compensation Program for Abuse Victims
-
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/california-catholic-dioceses-announce-new-compensation-program-for-abuse-victims-300849889.html


Additional information regarding the Diocese of Santa Rosa’s outreach to victims of childhood sexual abuse

Q1 Are any priests who are credibly accused of sexual abuse still in public ministry?

A1 No priest with a credible accusation of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult is currently serving in public ministry in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. In keeping with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, when a member of the clergy is found to be guilty of a crime against children or young people, he is permanently removed from ministry.

Q2 What are the criteria for inclusion on the Diocese of Santa Rosa list?

A2 The names on the Diocesan list are included for a variety of reasons. First, the names of those clergy who, in the judgment of law enforcement or the Diocesan Review Board, have a substantiated claim against them are listed.

            In those instances involving a claim of an historical nature when it is not possible to engage law enforcement to help determine criminal guilt, the benefit of the doubt is given to the victim. Thus, the inclusion of a name here, while not proving guilt, is intended to prove the Church’s desire to support victims.

            The names of deceased clergy are included when there is an allegation on record.

            The names of clergy listed on the sites of other Dioceses or Religious Order are listed when those men had some connection with or time of service in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. These names are included even when the Diocese has no record of any local accusations against them. In these cases the Diocese relies entirely upon the list where the name is found.

            The list contains the names of those against whom accusations have been made while they served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa as well as those, with no allegations here. In many cases, due to the passage of time, a criminal investigation is not possible.

            On the other hand, when a report has been received and is determined by civil authorities to be Unfounded or Unsubstantiated the subject of such a report is not named. In such instances, the Diocese carefully evaluates the matter with the Diocesan Review Board to determine if the individual involved presents any possible risk to children or young people and acts accordingly.

Q3 Why didn’t the Diocese deal with this much sooner?

A3 Victims of child sexual abuse often take many years to come forward. Many of the claims made against the men on the Diocesan list were received after an accused priest was deceased or after the criminal statute of limitations had passed. In those instances, a state criminal investigation is impossible. Since the goal of the Diocese today is healing our Protocol gives a substantial benefit of the doubt to the victim.

Q4 Are any further actions being considered?

A4  The Diocese has tried most diligently to be very thorough in generating a list of the accused. As other Dioceses and Religious Communities release names the Diocese of Santa Rosa will be vigilant to assure that anyone on those newly revealed lists who has an association with the Diocese of Santa Rosa will be added to the Diocese of Santa Rosa list. Further, as new allegations surface, once the allegation is determined to be credible, names will be added.

Q5 Is possession of child pornography considered abuse?

A5 Yes, absolutely. One of the names listed came to our attention precisely because of a child pornography related conviction.  The newly Revised Diocesan Policy for the Protection of Children and Young People states: In this Policy every reference to child abuse includes any illegal activity related to minors including the use or possession of child pornography.

Q6 The list indicates that approximately 25 priests were accused of having abused children while serving in the Diocese. How many total victims have come forward in the Diocese?

A6 The records have been searched and the names of approximately 100 victims of child sexual abuse in the Diocese have been discovered. This is a shocking number and they represent a major portion of the reason for the present disclosures. More than half of these victims (63) suffer as a result of the actions of 4 priests. While even a single act of abuse of a minor is unacceptable, the actions of these four have done more harm to children than all of the other priests of the entire Diocese combined.

            It must be remembered that 14 of the clergy included on the Diocese of Santa Rosa list are named because there were accusations against them either before or after they served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. For these the list notes: No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. If accusations are received regarding these priests then this notation will be amended.

Q7 What Policies does the Church have to keep children safe today?

A7 The Catholic Dioceses of the United States including the Diocese of Santa Rosa have adopted a zero-tolerance policy regarding instances of sexually abusive conduct involving a member of the clergy and a minor. These same polices apply to lay employees and volunteers.

            In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing claims of sexual abuse of minors. The Charter includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability and prevention of future acts of abuse. This Charter serves as the basis for our own Diocesan Policy.

            The Diocese screens any priest who comes to serve, even temporarily, in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. Sometimes this is as simple as a Letter of Good Standing from the Religious Community or Diocese from which the cleric comes. Sometimes, if the cleric stays for more than one month, a more thorough screening is required. Every priest who serves in the Diocese must have his fingerprints on file and complete the Diocese mandated Safe Environment Training. These same requirements bind all Diocesan, Parish and School employees and volunteers who have contact with children.

Q8 Are preventative measures making a difference?

A8 According to recent data the number of alleged offenses reported since 2004 are dramatically different from the number reported from 1965 to 1990. In those years there were as many as 300 allegations per year. From 2005 to 2017 the annual average is 17 (Source: America Media: A Jesuit ministry). While a number of other factors may affect this number it is reasonable to attribute a major portion of the reduction of accusation to the preventative measures taken by the Church.

Q9 How does the Diocese determine when to report an allegation of child sexual abuse?

A9 The policy of the Diocese is to report every accusation of child abuse to state authorities and to allow the proper law enforcement agencies to conduct suitable investigations. Civil authorities follow their own protocols and policies. The Diocese stands ready to cooperate fully in law enforcement investigations. If your abuser is deceased a report is not made to Law Enforcement since there is no one to prosecute for the crime. However, when you contact the Diocese with an allegation of abuse by a priest who is now deceased, a report is provided to Sonoma County District Attorney.

Q10 What happens when a claim is received against a priest still in ministry?

A10 When a claim involving the abuse of a minor is made against a priest, employee or volunteer connected with the Diocese the allegation is immediately reported -- verbally and in writing -- to law enforcement. This is primarily the responsibility of the person observing or receiving the first complaint of the abuse but the Diocese is ready to assist in assuring that a report is properly filed. The Diocese fully cooperates throughout the investigation. Upon receipt of a claim involving sexual misconduct with a minor, the accused is suspended from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation unless such an action would interfere with the law enforcement investigation.

            If law enforcement finds sufficient reason to pursue a criminal investigation, the Diocese will initiate its own investigation only after the one conducted by law enforcement concludes. If law enforcement decides not to pursue a criminal investigation then the Diocese will still pursue its own internal investigation to determine if some form of ecclesial sanction is suitable.

            The results of the Diocese’s internal investigation are presented to the Diocesan Review Board. The members of this Board include professionals from the fields of psychology, law enforcement and human resources. The Review Board helps determine if a claim is credible and makes its recommendation to the Bishop. No one who has a substantiated claim of sexually abusing a minor or vulnerable adult is allowed to remain in public ministry.

            Throughout this process, the Diocese is very proactive in offering pastoral and therapeutic services to the victim.

Q11 What happens when a new victim comes forward accusing a priest who is deceased or after the civil statute of limitations has expired?

A11 The answer to this question is the reason for our Victim Compensation Protocol. While neither criminal prosecution nor civil lawsuit is not possible, the Diocese still wants to fulfill its obligation to make amends for past harm.  The Protocol is intended to be pastoral and healing. By way of this program we hope to further assure victims of childhood sexual abuse that: we have heard you, we believe you, we affirm you in your trauma and we want to help with a healing process.

         In order to do this we need to engage with you in a process which provides us with some required information so that we can discern together what form this healing process should take.

Q12 What is the role of the Diocesan Review Board?

A12 The Diocesan Review Board helps the Bishop determine the credibility of claims and is also proactively engaged in helping to determine improvements to Policies of the Diocese regarding the protection of children, including this Protocol.

            In terms of this Protocol, the Review Board will be convened to review the Information provided about the abuse suffered. They will then help determine what actions should be taken by the Diocese in regard to providing healing to those abused. The Victim Assistance Coordinator also consults with the Diocesan Review Board in the course of continued contact with victims about the type of support which should be offered.

Q13 Why didn’t the Church do something about this 40 years ago?

A13 Recognition of the nature, frequency and damage of abuse is developing both in the Church and in society. One example stands out. State laws continue to change. The first mandatory child abuse reporting law in California was enacted in 1963. That law applied only to physicians. Over time the list of mandated reporters was expanded. At the same time there was a broadening of the concept of reportable maltreatment to include sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment, and neglect.  Prior to 1980, in California, these reporting laws applied only to physicians.

            Clergy were added to the list of mandated reporters in California in 1997.

            This expansion of Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Laws manifests a deepening recognition that children are in need of adult protection. It also implies a growing recognition of the dramatic negative impact which this abuse has on children.

            The failure of the Church to recognize just how damaging clergy abuse was to a child in the 1960’s or the 1980’s was not due solely to the blindness of bishops. Societal recognition of the seriousness of this damage continues to evolve.

Q14 What do you hope to accomplish by this new Protocol?

A14 The Church recognizes with great shame the extent of abuse which some of Her priests have perpetrated and recognizes Her duty to make amends. While lawsuits are one method of seeking justice, as a Church, we believe that healing can better be accomplished by working together.

            The call for greater transparency has been heard by the Church and the Church has responded. The perception that the Church is sheltering abusers of children needs to come to an end. Such a perception harms the Church, it further distresses victims, it harms the People of God and it harms our priests. This Protocol takes us to the next step.

            We recognize that the People of God expect and deserve not only greater transparency but also greater compassion. We hope that our transparency and this Protocol will help victims and their families realize that he Church is serious about being a source of healing as it has, often unwittingly, been the source of harm. Fuller accountability of the Church means not only listing names, but also reaching out to victims for engagement in the healing process.

Q15 Why didn’t the Diocese of Santa Rosa contract with a Professional Firm for this outreach?

A15 The Diocese of Santa Rosa carefully considered the proposal which was made to all the Dioceses of California and determined, in consultation with the Diocesan Review Board and the Diocesan Finance Council, that the number of victims we anticipate coming forward did not justify the enormous expense of a Professional Firm. The Firm would rely on the Diocese to generate the names of prospective contacts and would then make the necessary contacts. Since many victims associated with the Diocese of Santa Rosa are already known to our Victim Assistance Coordinator, the involvement of a disinterested third party did not seem to us to be a good use of limited resources.

Read Bishop Vasa's column for the May North Coast Catholic (click here)


Announcement March 1st 2019

New Priests for the Diocese

Two new priests came to the Diocese of Santa Rosa in February to exercise their priestly ministry. Reverend Rowell MOP from the Philippines, is a Religious priest of the Missionaries of the Poor and Reverend Sudhakar Mannam from India, is a Diocesan priest of the Diocese of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. Bishop Vasa made the following assignments:

Reverend Rowell Gumalay MOP as the Parochial Vicar of the parishes of St. Bernard’s and Sacred Heart, Eureka, CA,  effective February 22, 2019.

Reverend Sudhakar Mannam as the Parochial Vicar of St. Francis Solano parish, Sonoma, CA, effective March 1, 2019.


DIOCESE RESPONDS TO THE REQUEST FOR TRANSPARENCY
SANTA ROSA, CA
Bishop Robert F. Vasa, Bishop of Santa Rosa Diocese, CA

            In the name of the Church, I want, first of all to express my sincere sorrow that so many have been subjected to the evil actions of priests and bishops. Thus, I apologize again, especially for any who have been subjected to injury at the hands of the clergy named below. While the Church has taken some very significant actions over the past twenty years, those actions are significant in terms of the present and future protection of children. However, they do not touch the very real trauma which the evil actions of deacons, priests and bishops have caused in the lives of thousands of young people in our nation. My primary goal in releasing the names of accused priests and deacons who served in Santa Rosa in this public fashion is to give to all the victims of clerical sexual abuse the assurance that they have been heard and that the Church is very much concerned for their well-being and healing. It is my deepest prayer and hope that this release of names in a consolidated fashion says to any of you who are victims, we have heard you, we believe you, we affirm you in your trauma and we want to help with a healing process.

            Bringing difficult things to light is painful. It is painful for victims of childhood sexual abuse, for the People of God, for our priests, and for me. I know of no other way to bring light to this distressing moment in the Church.

            I want to call attention to one portion of the list: the years when the abuses occurred. This is included when the information is available. Sadly, we have had sexual abuse events as late as 2006 and 2008 and I find that most troubling. However, the vast majority of the abuses occurred decades ago. This is not complete proof that the Church is making progress in eliminating this great tragedy, but I find this to be a sign of hope. The dates during which an individual served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa and present status, when known, are also provided. I have divided this list into four different sets identified by the numbers in brackets. (1) Indicates those whose names were released officially by the Diocese in January of 2004. (2) Designates those priests whose names have become a part of a public record, mostly by way of public expressions in the media or on the internet. (3) Identifies those, not otherwise named, whose accusations are deemed by the Diocesan Review Board to be well founded and credible. (4) Designates the names of accused priests who had varying degrees of connection with the Diocese of Santa Rosa and who had claims brought against them in other places. Seventeen of those named here have no known allegations against them during the time of their service or presence in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. The list below does not include any accusations directly associated with Hanna Center since that agency has its own HR, Screening and Reporting Protocols.  

ADDED TO THE LIST IN DECEMBER 2019

Joseph Alzugaray (4)              Ordained for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles April 29, 1967

                                                Incardinated in the Diocese of Santa Rosa June 17, 1996

                                          Accused in 1993 for 1967-1972 abuse in Los Angeles         

                                                Cleared by LA / Retired 10-31-11

                                                Deceased 1-31-14      

                                                No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Carmelo Baltazar (2)              Ordained for the Diocese of Malolos, Philippines June 6, 1960       

                                                Chaplain Queen of the Valley Hospital 1981-82

                                                Left the Diocese of Santa Rosa 11-24-82

                                          Arrested and sentenced 1985

                                          Deceased (San Diego Diocese website)

Edward F. Beutner (4)            Ordained for the Diocese of Superior 1965

                                                Assigned to Mont LaSalle in Napa in 1987

                                          There are no specific details about allegations against him

                                          Deceased 2008

                                                No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Anthony Bolger (2)                Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa December 19, 1969

                                                Excardinated to Honolulu 6-18-84

                                                Accused in 1994 for abuse of a minor in 1972-1973            

                                                In 1994 notified Honolulu of accusation 

                                          Deceased 1-7-2015                                                                            

David Brusky (2)                    Religious Priest Ordained June 9, 1952 

                                                Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa1981-1985

                                                Allegation made in 2002 for abuse in 1980’s

                                                Reported to DA in 2002

                                          Deceased 2-1-2014

John Crews (2)                        Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa February 14, 1971

                                                Accusation raised by man’s widow 2-1-2013 for 1971-75 actions

                                                Reported to Police February 2013

                                          No Assignment / Retired 2013

Kevin Dunne (4)                     Religious Brother

                                          Accused in 2002 for 1993 abuse elsewhere

                                          Lived at Franciscan Hermitage, Sebastopol 11-19-04 to 7-31-05  

                                          Current status unknown 

                                          No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Don Eagleson (4)                    Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa April 13, 1985

                                                Accused in 2002 of abuse in 1971 prior to ordination

                                                Out of Ministry 4-30-02

                                                Deceased 10-22-2004

                                                No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa                        

Don D. Flickinger (4)             Ordained for the Diocese of Fresno 1964

                                          Civil suit filed 8-9-11

                                          Chaplain to Christian Brothers Novitiate 1981 to1983

                                          Retired / No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

J. Patrick Foley (4)                 Ordained for the Diocese of San Diego 1973

                                          Listed by the San Diego Diocese in 2018

                                          Provided many Missions and Parish Retreats 1998-2006

                                          No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Francis (John) Ford (2)           Incardinated in the Diocese of Santa Rosa January 21, 1971

                                          Belated claim of abuse as a Franciscan prior to 1971

                                                Abuse occurrence in Diocese of Santa Rosa 1974

                                          On Leave January 1, 1979

                                          Deceased 10-21-84

Ruben Garcia (4)                    Ordained for the Diocese of Boise 1972

                                          Named in a civil suit 2-21-94

                                          Served in Diocese of Santa Rosa beginning 11-1973

                                          No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

                                          Deceased

Patrick Gleeson (1)                 Ordained for the Diocese of Sacramento June 10, 1947

                                                Incardinated with the Diocese of Santa Rosa when established on 2-21-62

                                                Accused in 2004 of abuse 1968-72

                                                Retired 8-21-89

                                                Deceased 4-15-91

Patrick A. Hannon (2)            Religious Priest Ordained July 10, 1949

                                                Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa 1980 to 1981

                                                Accused in 2000 of abuse 1981

                                                Deceased 1993

Austin Peter Keegan (1)         Ordained for the Archdiocese of San Francisco June 9, 1962

                                                Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa 1976-81

                                                Accused in 2000 of abuse 1976-81

                                                Removed / Moved to Mexico 1981

                                          Stripped of Duties by San Francisco 1982 

Michael Emmet Kelly (2)       Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa May 15, 1971

                                                Accused in 1999 of abuse 1971-99

                                                Suspended 10-24-99 / Laicized 10-15-04

Don Kimball (1)                     Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa May 24, 1969

                                          Accused in 1990 of abuse in the 1980’s

                                                On Leave / Removed 1990

                                                Convicted in 2002

                                                Deceased 9-15-2006

Bruce Maxwell (4)                  Religious Priest Ordained 1975

                                          Accused in 2002 and removed from all ministry 2002

                                          Chaplain at USCG Training Center Petaluma 1989 to 1992

                                          In residence at Saint James, Petaluma at that same time

                                          No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Patrick McCabe (2)               Ordained for the Archdiocese of Dublin May 21, 1961

                                                Served in Diocese of Santa Rosa 1983-86

                                                Abuse occurrence in the Diocese of Santa Rosa1980’s

                                                Removed 2-27-1986 / Laicized 3-11-1988

John A. Meenan (2)                Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa June 5, 1965

                                                Accusation 1960’s

                                                On Leave 1971 / Laicized 5-23-1975

                                                Deceased 4-21-2009

John Moriarty (4)                    Religious Brother

                                                Christian Brothers’ Retreat House in St. Helena from 1974-78

                                          The Diocese of Santa Rosa has no record of his presence

                                                No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Francis E. Neville (3)             Ordained for the Diocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka about 1973

                                                Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa1983-84

                                                Accused in 1993 of abuse in1983 

                                                Deceased 10-2002

Mark O'Leary (4)                    Religious Priest Ordained May 19, 1985

                                          Accused in 2002 of acts in Southern California from 1974-1977

                                          Chaplain at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital 1993-2002

                                          Permanently removed from ministry 4-30-2002

                                          No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Vincent O’Neill (1)                Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa May 21, 1971

                                          Accused of abuse in the late 1970’s

                                          Dismissed / Retired 1996

                                          Deceased 11-12-1998

Francisco Javier Ochoa (2)     Ordained for the Jesuits July 4, 1969

                                                Incardinated with the Diocese of Santa Rosa 7-11-1991

                                                Abuse occurrence 2006

                                                Laicized 6-29-2009

                                                Deceased 11-30-2009

Ted Oswald (2)                       Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa June 6, 1984

                                                Accused in 2008

                                                Permanently Removed from Ministry 2008

                                                Deceased 7-4-2013

Xavier Pallathuparambil (3)   Ordained for the Diocese of Vijayapuram, India December 22, 1952

                                                Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa 2-2-84 to 4-13-84

                                                Dismissed from the Diocese of Santa Rosa 4-13-84

                                                Deceased (India) 5-29-2004

Thomas Parker (2)                  Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa April 13, 1985                   

                                                Accused in 2007 of abuse in 1988-89

                                                Police Report 7-10-2007 / Laicized May 2008

Daniel Polizzi (4)                   Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa June 7, 1969

                                                Transferred to the Diocese of San Diego 5-30-70

                                          Accused in 1996 / Removed from ministry 1997

                                          Deceased 2003

                                          No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Celestine Quinlan (4)              Religious Priest Ordained 1957

                                          Named in 2003 civil suit for abuse between 1957-1962 

                                          Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa 1962 to 1968

                                          Deceased 1970

                                          No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa                        

John Rogers (1)                      Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa May 23, 1976

                                                Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa to 9-95 / Accused in 1995

                                                Deceased 11-8-1995

Anthony J. Ross (1)                Ordained for the Diocese of Joliet November 11, 1972

                                                Incardinated with the Diocese of Santa Rosa 8-1-97

                                                Accused in 2002 for abuse in Joliet in 1981

                                                Permanently removed April 2002

                                                No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Alfredo Sobalvarro (3)           Ordained for Archdiocese of Washington, DC May 8, 1971

                                                Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa 1972 to 1976

                                          Out of Ministry since 2003

Gary Timmons (1)                  Ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa May 6, 1967

                                                Served 6-67 to 3-94

                                                Arrested and imprisoned 10-1995 / Laicized 5-15-2001

Francis Verngren (4)              Religious Brother

                                          Mont LaSalle 1969-84 and at Justin Siena 1984

                                          Retired 2002

                                          Tutored in math at Saint Apollinaris 1990 - 2002

                                          Deceased 12-2-2003

                                          No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

James Walsh (3)                     Ordained for Archdiocese of San Francisco March 20, 1943

                                          Incardinated with the Diocese of Santa Rosa when established on 2-21-62

                                                Deceased 12-3-93

                                          Accusation made in 2005 of abuse in 1965

Bernie Ward (2)                      Religious Priest Ordained 1977

                                                Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa 1978-1979

                                                Accusation made in 2008

                                                Convicted of child pornography related crime 8-2008

                                                Left priesthood 1979 or 80 / Present ecclesial status unknown

Ron Wiecek (2)                      Religious Priest Ordained 1971                     

                                          Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa 1970’s

                                          Accusation made to his Religious Community in 2010

                                                Present status unknown

Vincent A. Yzermans (4)        Ordained for the Diocese of St Cloud June 2, 1951

                                          Listed as: On Duty at the Diocese of Santa Rosa 1975-1976

                                          File shows correspondence with Bishop Hurley in 1975

                                          No record of any assignment in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Deceased 5-4-95 No known accusations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa
 

ADDED TO THE LIST IN DECEMBER 2019:
Jose Luis Contreras Religious Order Priest (Claretians)
Accusation in San Antonio in 1987 (Recently reported by San Antonio)
Served in the Diocese of Santa Rosa from March 1995 to June 2000
Returned to Mexico in 2000 Present status unknown.
No known allegations in the Diocese of Santa Rosa  

 

Two names which have received much notoriety are not in the list above.  Bishop Ziemann and Archbishop Nienstedt. While there is much publicity the Archbishop’s situation is still under review by the Holy See. The naming of Bishops accused is exclusively under the authority of the Holy See and I am not authorized to make any revelations regarding them.

 

      Despite the fact that I do want to be entirely open about accusations there are six (6) members of the clergy against whom allegations have been made but which lack sufficient substantiation to justify a release or which, in the judgment of the Diocesan Review Board, may not be released without a Court Order authorizing the Diocese to do so. In three cases the proper authorities investigated and found the allegations not substantiated. One of these remains in ministry. In two cases the allegations came to the Diocese or Religious Community to which the accused belonged, and those entities have not yet determined the suitability of releasing the names. In one case the nature of the event described does not indicate that abuse occurred.

 

      The members of the Diocesan Review Board are aware that six names are retained as confidential. All six of these names have been openly discussed with the Diocesan Review Board. All but two of these names have been revealed to the County District Attorney. Since the two remaining have been reported to Police in a timely fashion and investigated the presumption of innocence and the right to a presumption of innocence must be fully respected. The Diocese does not desire to hide or cover-up anything. The direct involvement of the Diocesan Review Board is one of the strongest measures taken by the Diocese to help assure the fullest degree of transparency permitted by law. This Board has access to everything that the Bishop has seen and heard regarding child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. In the past, the members of the Board were not identified but in the present moment it seems good to identify them. This is not a body of men and women who simply rubber stamp whatever the Bishop wants. They are conscientious, dedicated men and women with areas of expertise which uniquely qualify them as advisors to the Bishop on these most significant matters. I am most grateful to them for their dedicated service and rely greatly upon their expert advice.

 

Chair: Richard Ortiz, Probation Officer (Retired)

            George Berg, Police Officer

            John Storm, Permanent Deacon, Catholic Restorative Justice Ministry (Employee)

            Dr. Alisa Liguori Stratton, Ph.D., Psychologist

            Dr. Mary Killeen Lyons, Ph. D., Psychotherapist

            Honorable Charlotte Walter Woolard, Retired Judge of the California Superior Court

            Honorable Daniel (Mike) Hanlon, Retired Justice of the California Court of Appeal

  Advisors:      Dan Galvin, Diocesan Attorney

                        Monsignor Daniel Whelton, Vicar for Clergy

                        Julie Sparacio, Diocesan Director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection

 

 

Archbishop Nienstedt’s Response:

 

In December 2018, it came to my attention that an allegation had been brought to the Ramsey County (MN) prosecutor in 2016 by a man in the Diocese of New Ulm. It’s my understanding that the man alleged that, while a minor during the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, he and a friend of his and I got caught in a rain storm. The allegation implies that I then invited the two of them to my hotel room, that I changed my clothes in front of the two and invited them to remove their clothes so that those articles of clothing could be dry cleaned. (It’s my understanding the man does not claim any physical touching, hence an allegation of misconduct as opposed to abuse.)

Having lived through the Dallas charter meeting of the USCCB in 2002 which dealt with the crisis in Boston over the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, I would have known enough never to be alone with minors in a hotel room precisely so that such allegations could not be made. Moreover, my own sense of personal modesty would not permit me to undress in front of others.

This allegation was not known to me when I petitioned to minister in the Diocese of Santa Rosa in 2016. I only learned of it on December 13, 2018.

I do not know the motive behind the allegation. But I do know the allegation to be false. I encourage the USCCB to find a fair and impartial forum in which allegations against a bishop, like myself, can be investigated and adjudicated. I welcome an impartial look at the facts and the opportunity to defend myself at the earliest opportunity.

 

PRESS RELEASE SANTA ROSA DIOCESE JANUARY 12TH, 2019

JANUARY ISSUE OF THE NORTH COAST CATHOLIC DIOCESAN NEWSPAPER


Sign up for Press Releases and notification of events by becoming a member of our Press Corps: