Diocese of Sacramento urged to expand list of accused priests


The Network of survivors of those abused by priests calls on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento to expand its list of presumably abused clergy by about two dozen, providing a list consisting largely of priests who served a mission at one point in the Sacramento area and then went on to been accused by other dioceses.

The organization is also urging the diocese to start listing those credibly accused of sexually abusing adults over 25.

SNAP Sacramento alleges that there are at least 25 priests who should be added for these reasons to the local list, currently made up of 45 priests and two deacons. The diocese list and the list proposed by SNAP each span several decades.

“I am here to stand up for all of God’s children, regardless of age,” SNAP Sacramento leader Dorothy Small said at a press conference Wednesday on the sidewalk outside the Diocese’s office on Broadway.

“We are sensitive to people who occupy positions of power and authority, and in particular power and authority which represent the highest power there is. “

Pope Francis announced this year that adult sexual abuse by priests would be criminalized, a major change to canon law that officially came into effect on Wednesday, the day of the Immaculate Conception.

“My team and I will review the information shared at today’s press event and consider ways to more publicly inform parishioners when a priest or cleric has abused their trust,” wrote the Bishop Jaime Soto, head of the diocese, in an emailed statement to The Bee. Wednesday night.

“I am committed to atoning for the horrible sins of the past and doing all I can to bring healing to victims of clergy sexual abuse. “

The diocese in 2019 settled down with Small, a resident of Woodland, for $ 200,000 following a lawsuit alleging former Reverend Renerio Sabuga Jr. sexually assaulted her in a bedroom in 2015, when ‘she was an adult.

A spokesperson for the diocese in 2017 told the Sacramento Bee that Sabuga was convicted of “maintaining a relationship with a woman outside of her vows” and fired when the issue arose again. SNAP alleges that Sabuga continues to work as a priest in the Philippines.

The survivors’ organization demands that Sabuga and two dozen other priests be added to the abuse list.

The other 24 names, compiled by SNAP Treasurer Dan McNevin, include many who were assigned to parishes in the Diocese of Sacramento and who were later listed by other dioceses or Franciscan orders as having been accused in such a manner. credible abuse.

The current list for the Diocese of Sacramento has a section for this category, which includes 16 priests.

Melanie Sakoda, a SNAP survivor support coordinator, acknowledged that Sacramento “has one of the best lists from dioceses in the country.”

Still, Sakoda said it was not clear why the diocese had set a limit for vulnerable adults at 25.

“There was no explanation,” she said.

Regarding the inclusion of 18 to 25 year olds, an FAQ page on the diocese website explains, “There are strong indications that the ‘preparation’ (the victims) began when the person was a minor and not at the age of consent. Seven priests on the diocese’s list are credibly accused of abusing young adults, four of whom have also allegedly abused minors.

The diocese first published its list in April 2019, comprising 44 priests and two deacons. A 45th priest was added in a December 2019 update, and another update this fall added six new allegations against five priests already on the list for other alleged abuses. Just under half died.

In total, these 47 clergy “have been credibly accused of sexually abusing 146 minors or young adults,” the diocese’s website read.

Priests confirmed by other dioceses

The bee could immediately confirm nine names from SNAP’s list, not counting Sabuga, which are listed by other dioceses or Franciscan orders as being credibly accused and for which those dioceses or orders also report that the member of the clergy has carried out a mission in the Sacramento area:

â–ª Former priests Frank Ivey, Conan Lee, Jorge Ortiz Lopez, Sylvester Mancuso and Claude Riffel are listed by the Franciscans Sainte-Barbe as having credible accusations in other dioceses. All five were assigned to Saint Francis of Sacramento at various times throughout the 20th century.

Riffel died in 1977, Lee in 1978, Mancuso in 1979 and Lopez in 2004.

â–ª Stephen J. Muth, listed by Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, served at St. Andrew the Apostle in Sacramento from 1993 to 1994.

â–ª Patrick gleeson, ordained by the Diocese of Sacramento in 1943, had allegations reported in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. Gleeson died in 1991.

â–ª Brother Joseph Stadfield, accused in the Diocese of Los Angeles, was assigned to a Passionist Church in Citrus Heights from 1985 to 1991. Stadfield died in 2001.

â–ª James kuntz, president of Jesuit High School in Sacramento from 2000 to 2002, was sentenced in 2008 to more than three years for possession of child pornography in a federal court in New Jersey.

SNAP is also asking the Diocese of Sacramento to combine a list of seven other clergy with claims recognized by the Western Jesuit Province with the main list. Currently, he is included as a hyperlink at the bottom of the list of credible defendants.

SNAP calls for other actions

SNAP also on Wednesday called on California lawmakers to consider criminalizing clergy having sex with parishioners or those they advise, a step the group says 13 other states have taken.

Former Attorney General Xavier Becerra began a sexual abuse audit in 2019, issuing subpoenas to six of California’s 12 dioceses, including Sacramento.

The investigation is ongoing, but SNAP officials said they hoped the attorney general’s office would provide a report or interim report identifying the perpetrators.

This story was originally published 8 December 2021 2:39 p.m.

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Michael McGough heads the Sacramento Bee Breaking News reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A native of Sacramento and a longtime resident of the capital, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a journalism degree.


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