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16 Catholic priests in Utah accused of sex abuse since 1990, bishop says

SALT LAKE CITY — The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City has won “credible allegations of sexual abuse” in opposition to 16 priests since 1990, Bishop Oscar Solis stated in an open letter this week to Utah Catholics.

Those allegations come with proceedings submitted in opposition to two priests this 12 months.

Bishop Solis’ letter, printed in the diocese’s newspaper, Intermountain Catholic, stated such allegations have additionally been submitted in opposition to one seminarian and one brother in that period of time.

The sexual abuse grievances filed with the diocese since 1990 “involved approximately 34 victims.” Two of the accused priests have been the topics of proceedings submitted this 12 months, Bishop Solis stated in the message.

“Both have been reported to the authorities; investigation is ongoing and both are under temporary suspension from priestly ministry,” he wrote.

In his letter, he decried “the horrible sins of some priests against minors and the failure of some bishops in their responsibility to nourish and protect the little ones.”

“In the Diocese of Salt Lake City, we take our sacred responsibility of protecting our children very seriously. We are saddened by and ashamed of the sexual abuse scandal in our church,” Bishop Solis stated. “Some of our priests and bishops have committed harm and injustice to so many. On behalf of all my brother priests, and myself, I beg your forgiveness for their sins and failings.”

In August, the diocese introduced it had positioned the Rev. David R. Gaeta, a pastor in American Fork, on administrative depart whilst it investigates accusations of sexual misconduct in opposition to kids between 1980 and 1984 when the Rev. Gaeta oversaw a parish in Ogden.

Jean Hill, executive liaison for the diocese, stated on the time that the accusations concerned two individuals who allegedly have been inappropriately touched all through that point, after they have been boys. Hill didn’t know the age of the ones boys on the time of the alleged incidents.

The Rev. Gaeta has denied the allegations, Hill stated in August. She stated on the time that the diocese had contacted the Division of Child and Family Services, and that police have been investigating, however few different main points have been equipped.

The Rev. Gaeta was once ordained for the diocese in 1980 and served in Ogden from 1980 to 1984 and left Utah in 1985, in step with Hill. He returned to the state when he assumed management of the St. Peter Parish in American Fork in 2017.

The different priest to be accused this 12 months of sexual misconduct is the Rev. Jorge Martinez-Gomez, pastor of the Saint Francis of Assisi parish in Orem.

An announcement to the congregation there in mid-July, shared Friday with KSL, says the Salt Lake diocese won an accusation in opposition to the Rev. Martinez-Gomez on July three stemming from alleged misconduct “involving an adult male” in December 2016.

He was once put on administrative depart the similar day the allegation was once won, the announcement stated, pending the end result of the diocese investigation.

“This matter has been reported to law enforcement, and we will cooperate with law enforcement in its investigation,” the announcement stated, including that “the diocese is unaware of any other allegations” in opposition to the priest.

Anyone with “information or concerns” was once requested to name the diocese’s sufferers’ help coordinator, Sandy Growe, at 801-328-8641.

No different information about the allegations have been launched.

Of the allegations in opposition to explicit church leaders submitted since 1990, the incidents described by means of those that got here ahead return to 1962, Bishop Solis stated in the letter.

“Most allegations were reported to and received by the diocese after the priest either had left the priesthood, had retired, returned to his country of origin or had died,” he stated of the instances reported since 1990. “All allegations were reported to the Division of Child and Family Services, and all victims were offered pastoral assistance with counseling and therapy.”

In addition, in the similar reporting length 4 folks have come ahead about incidents they stated came about between 1951 and 1975, however the ones 4 folks “could not remember which perpetrator (priest or lay) had abused them,” Bishop Solis wrote. Each of them have been additionally “offered funding for therapy.”

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is dedicated to offering protected and loving take care of younger folks in our parishes, missions, colleges and different ministries. It is our severe intent to give protection to our kids and to achieve out to victim-survivors who’ve been abused by means of our clergy or different church group of workers so they are able to obtain therapeutic, justice, reconciliation and peace.

–Bishop Oscar Solis

It was once in 1990, he stated, that the diocese made it protocol “that future allegations would be reported to authorities and anyone found to have committed abuse … would be held accountable and permanently removed from ministry.”

Bishop Solis stated the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City continues to look at “strict implementation of the zero tolerance policy,” together with speedy reporting of sexual misconduct to regulation enforcement and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services.

He stated the diocese “extends pastoral outreach to the victims and their families that includes the practice of offering therapy.”

Bishop Solis additionally stated “an independent review board consisting mostly of laymen and women with various professional backgrounds and experiences” is helping the diocese examine allegations of sexual misconduct, and feature the authority to make “recommendations to remove a priest from ministry when it is appropriate.”

He added that the diocese provides kids “age-relevant educational programs about sexual abuse” and is helping them be told “how to avoid and report questionable behavior.”

Bishop Solis’ letter additionally addressed a Pennsylvania grand jury record launched final month that concluded an estimated 1,000 kids throughout six dioceses in that state have been molested or raped by means of church clergy over a 70-year length.

That record, he stated, “revealed the harrowing history and sinful deeds of some priests and bishops as well as the attempted cover-ups or omissions of some leaders of our church who miserably failed in carrying out their sacred responsibility of protecting God’s children in their pastoral care.”

“The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is committed to providing safe and loving care for young people in our parishes, missions, schools and other ministries,” Bishop Solis wrote. “It is our serious intent to protect our children and to reach out to victim-survivors who have been abused by our clergy or other church personnel so they can receive healing, justice, reconciliation and peace.”

16 Catholic priests in Utah accused of sex abuse since 1990, bishop says

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