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I was age five when the bishop stood over me and said, "Stop babbling about what the priest did to you." Then, forty years later... I started babbling.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crimes of 2 Pedophile Priests in New Santa Barbara Lawsuit Like Thousands Reviewed by Pope When He was Cardinal

(Story also appears in shorter version at AlterNet in SoapBox)

From Santa Barbara, another lawsuit, describing sex crimes of a pedophile priest, like the thousands of crimes that were reported to Cardinal Ratzinger, today Pope Benedict, when he ran the office in charge of investigating crimes by priests before becoming Pope.

The lawsuit quoted in depth below was filed December 2009 against the Franciscans, who produced 44 Predator Pedophile Priests in about three decades of proselytizing in this one Southern California town.

Crime victims continue to come forward with claims from St. Anthony’s Seminary in Santa Barbara, even though the 2003 one-year window to file decades old claims in California is long closed. Attorneys for plaintiffs and for the Church’s various archdiocese corporations sole are today awaiting a decision by the state Supreme Court as to whether more cases can be filed, a decision that could change the statute of limitations on child sex crimes in this state, so look for a story here in the near future about the Quarry decision.

Today, City of Angels has a document from Case #1338630 filed December 1, 2009, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Barbara, Anacapa Division.

For the sake of public record, we are copying parts of the “First Amended Complaint for Damages and injunctive Relief” for 1338630 here for everyone to read.

Keep in mind that the Pope had judicial review of all these crimes, when he ran the CDF before becoming Pope. As Cardinal Ratzinger, he likely read reports of thousands of crimes by pedophile priests like the ones described below. That's why it’s so astounding to see him look into the news media’s face and claim surprise and dismay and the other milk toast words he uses when confronted with these charges in Europe in 2010. The Vatican and the Pope were very much involved in the coverup of these crimes.

The plaintiff complaint quoted below is the kind of case that came across the desk of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for decades, when he was in charge of the CDF Office (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Inquisition). He had judicial review of all criminal activity by priests all over the world for 23 years before becoming Pope.

Hundreds of cases of child sex crime activity crossed the desk of Cardinal Ratzinger, most of it then translated into Latin and placed in very secret files somewhere in the Vatican, as it has been explained to me, but no one really knows what the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy do behind the Swiss guards and the Vatican walls, do they?

Complaint filed for relief from:

Public Nuisance
Negligent Supervision/Failure to Warn
Negligent Hiring/Retention
Fiduciary/Confidential Relationship Fraud and Conspiracy
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Negligent Failure to Warn, Train, or educate plaintiffs
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
Violation of business and professional code 17200
Fraud and Deceit
Premises Violation


Defendant Doe 1: Franciscan Friars of California, Inc.
Defendant Doe 2: Old Mission Santa Barbara
Perpetrators are Franciscan Fathers Dave Johnson and Philip Wolfe

The Origin of the Explosion
of Franciscan Sex Crimes
in Santa Barbara in the 1960s

6. Franciscan perpetrators have been sexually assaulting children in Santa Barbara since at least 1936.

During this time at least forty-four (44) pedophilic and/or ephebophilic Roman Catholic priests or religious brothers have been assigned to work at and were living at and/or visiting various locations around Santa Barbara County, including but not limited to St.

Raphael’s Church in Goleta, San Roque, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Montecito, and the adjoining properties of St. Anthony’s and the Mission. Twenty-seven (27) of those priests or religious brothers were or are Franciscans.

Although Franciscan priests and Religious brothers abused Santa Barbara children much earlier in the 20th Century, there was an explosion of Franciscan sex crimes against at least sixty-two (62) local children beginning in the early 1960s. That explosion was triggered by events involving the Franciscans in the Diocese of San Diego in the early 1950s.

Prior to Santa Barbara the Franciscans used parishes in communities that at the time were on the outskirts of the Diocese, such as Banning and Beaumont, as havens to send their problem priests and Religious Brothers. Eventually the Diocese ended the Franciscans’ conduct. According to a letter written by the Bishop of San Diego on April 26, 1950:

"During the thirteen years since this Diocese was erected, to my own personal knowledge, the Saint Barbara Province of the Franciscan Fathers has used this Diocese as a dumping ground for their moral, mental and physical problems. It became necessary for me some time ago to demand the withdrawal of one misfit after another." See Exhibit "A"

The Bishop was so frustrated with the Franciscans that he commenced the process of applying to the necessary religious bodies in Rome to evict the Franciscans from the parishes in the Diocese of San Diego. It would appear the Bishop eventually succeeded, and sometime in the 1950s the Franciscans made Santa Barbara their new dumping ground for Franciscan perpetrators. Beginning in the late 1950s the Franciscans began sending the first of at least twenty-six (26) Franciscan perpetrators to Santa Barbara following their expulsion from the Diocese. Those perpetrators are identified below in the decades they first appeared and continued to reside in or visit Santa Barbara based on information known to date:

1 - Fr. Owen Da Silva (1930s)
2 - Brother Berard Connolly (1940s, 1980s - 1990s)
3 - Fr. Martin McKeon (1950s - 1960s)
4 - Fr. Edward Henriques (1960s)
5 - Fr. Mario Cimmarrusti (1960s - 1970s)
6 - Fr. Mel Bucher (1960s)
7 - Fr. Forrest McDonald (1960s - 1970s)
8 - Br. Kevin Dunne (1960s - 1970s)
9 - Br. Sam Cabot (1960s-1980s)
10 - Fr. Edmund Austin (1970s)
11 - Fr. Gus Krumm (1970s - 1980s)
12 - Fr. Paul Conn (1970s - 1980s)
13 - Fr. Dave Johnson (1970s - 1980s)
14 - Fr. Joseph Prochnow (1970s - 1980s)
15 - Br. Matteo Guerrero (1970s, 1990s - 2000s)
16 - Fr. Robert Van Handel (1970s -1990s)
17 - Fr. David Carriere (1970s - 2000s)
18 - Fr. Steve Kain (1980s)
19 - Fr. Philip Wolfe (1980s)
20 - Pre-novitiate candidate Ed Byrom (1980s)
21 - Pre-novitiate candidate Tom Thing (1980s)
22 - Fr. Chris Berbena (1980s)
23 - Fr. Remy Rudin (1980s - 1990s)
24 - Br. Gerald Chumik (2000s)
25 - Pedro Vasquez (2000s)
26 - Fr. Claude Riffel (1941-44, 1975-76)
270 - Fr. Fr. Alexander Manville (1960-73).

By the 1960s if not sooner these corrupt seeds planted by the Franciscans began bearing poisonous fruit as Franciscan perpetrators abused Santa Barbara children at a horrifying rate. At least eighty-five (85) children have been sexually abused in Santa Barbara by Roman Catholic priests or religious brothers since 1936.

Sixty-two (62) of those children were abused by Franciscan priests or religious brothers since 1960. The confirmed number of victims and Franciscan perpetrators grows each year.

The consequences of the Franciscans’ continuing corporate practices with regards to Franciscan perpetrators have been disastrous both for local children, and for a society that continues to bear the financial burden of the psychological fallout for abuse survivors. Abuse survivors often engage in addictive, self-destructive, and, unfortunately, sometimes criminal behavior as they deal with the psychological scars caused by childhood sexual abuse.

These behaviors in turn result in things such as divorce proceedings on court calendars, substance abuse, arrests, and incarcerations, all of which are paid for by the common taxpayer rather than by the truly culpable but tax-exempt organizations that protected the perpetrators. The evidence of the Franciscans’ culpability in this regard is overwhelming.

7. Time and again the Franciscans have had the opportunity to end the cycle of abuse by reporting perpetrators to law enforcement, and by warning the general public when a Franciscan has been accused of sexually assaulting a child. Tragically, the Franciscans’ ongoing efforts to protect their pedophilic members, and to protect the corporation’s financial interests, establish a continuing pattern of conduct causing new harm to today’s children, new trauma to adult survivors of Franciscan childhood sexual abuse, and causing the continuing financial burden to a society paying for the resulting psychological fallout.

8. Since at least 1964 the Franciscans have known their perpetrators were sexually assaulting Santa Barbara children, and of the fact any child exposed to their agents was at a heightened risk of being sexually assaulted. Since at least 1964 the Franciscans have been concealing these crimes, and shielding their criminal members from discovery. Sadly, even with the global settlement of the 2003-2006 litigation, the Franciscans have not changed their ways. The following are examples only of some of the most recent known Franciscan conduct placing today’s children at risk. These examples illustrate the Franciscans’ conduct remains a present day threat to children wherever the Franciscans conduct their business:

In July of 2003, the Franciscans assigned an admitted perpetrator – Father Gus Krumm – to a Sacramento parish next door to a school without any warning to the community. One Franciscan priest readily admitted he was aware of Father Krumm’s prior abuses but did not think it was appropriate to share such information with parishioners.

Despite the fact the Franciscans claimed Father Krumm was forbidden contact with young children, he did in fact have direct contact with young children while at this assignment.

In January 2004 it was revealed that the Franciscans had assigned perpetrator Brother Kevin Dunne to a Franciscan-run parish in Phoenix, St. Mary’s Basilica.

The Franciscans warned neither the parishioners nor the community of the risk Dunne posed, and the Phoenix community had no means of identifying Dunne as a perpetrator as – thanks to the Franciscans never having reported Dunne’s crimes to law enforcement – he had never been prosecuted and is not a registered sex offender. Thus, the fact Dunne had raped at least one St. Anthony’s student, and the fact the Franciscans had settled a claim made by that student, was known only to the Franciscans. The parish manager stated the Franciscans had never advised him of Dunne’s criminal conduct, and that "they probably should have."

In July 2004 the Franciscans admitted – albeit only after a reporter from the Dallas Morning News made the facts public – that yet another predator had been calling the Old Mission Santa Barbara home for over two years. Specifically, in the early to mid-1970's Franciscan Brother Gerald Chumik assaulted at least one victim in Canada. Canadian authorities attempted to prosecute Brother Chumik in the 1990s, but Chumik fled to the United States.

The Franciscans successfully and secretly harbored Brother Chumik, a fugitive from justice, behind the walls of the Mission for over two years. The Franciscans provided no warning to the public, much less to neighboring schools, of the threat Brother Chumik posed until the Dallas Morning News published the truth about Chumik.

In July 2005, the Franciscan Vicar Provincial, Brother Tom West, admitted Mission resident, Franciscan Pedro Vasquez, had been accused of sexually assaulting a person West described as a "young man." The Franciscans had allowed Vasquez to live at the Mission for three years without any warning to the community, and admitted to this fact in July of 2005 only when they knew its publication was inevitable.

In 2005, the former rector of St. Anthony’s, Father Xavier Harris, testified that while he was assigned at St. Williams in Los Altos in 2001, a well-known Franciscan perpetrator, Father Steve Kain, assisted there as well. Father Harris did not warn any of the parishioners of Father Kain’s propensities, nor, to his knowledge, did any other Franciscans warn any parishioners about Father Kain. With no shortage of victims who were unaware of the risk he posed, Father Kain abused again. Father Harris testified that Father Kain was then forced to stop assisting at St. Williams due to the abuse allegations, and was transferred to St. Boniface in San Francisco.

Once again, Father Harris testified he had no knowledge of any warnings to parishioners at St. Boniface regarding Father Kain’s propensities.

In late 2006 a victim spoke with Father Virgil Cordano at the Mission and informed Cordano he had been raped in 1976 by a Franciscan religious brother, Brother Mateo Guererro. Cordano did not act surprised at this information, admitted there had been other complaints against Mateo, and admitted that Mateo had been transferred as a result.

To date, the Franciscans have taken no steps to make this information public, no steps to determine whether there are any other victims of Mateo who have not come forward, no steps to notify the communities in which Mateo has been assigned over the course of his career as a Franciscan, and no steps to warn the current community where Mateo is assigned.

From approximately 1994 to at least 2008 the Franciscans assigned another admitted perpetrator – Fr. Mel Bucher – to Old Mission San Luis Rey. Fr. Bucher sexually assaulted at least one adolescent boy in Oregon in the early 1970s. Despite this admission, the Franciscans allowed Fr. Bucher to manage the Mission San Luis Rey retreat center. The retreat center conducts retreats for, among others, high school-aged children, including overnight retreats for students from, among other locations, Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana.

At least one current Franciscan and former Mater Dei faculty member has stated he would not discuss the allegations of abuse by Fr. Bucher with Mater Dei faculty or administrators because he does not "see any purpose being served in that." The Franciscans have never warned the families of these students of Fr. Bucher’s history of abuse.

In February 2009, Father Claude Riffel was accused of sexually assaulting a boy at another Franciscan seminary, St. Francis Minor Seminary in Troutdale, Oregon, in the early 1960s. Riffel was dean of discipline for the school when he would call the teenager out of class on the pretext of assigning work and then abuse him. To date, the Franciscans have taken no steps to make this information public, and no steps to determine whether there are any other victims of Riffel who have not come forward.

The Franciscans also have taken no steps to notify the communities in which Riffel has been assigned during his career as a Franciscan, including but not limited to the Santa Barbara community where from approximately 1941-44, and again from 1975-76, Riffel was assigned to St. Anthony’s and worked with boys the same age as those he is accused of abusing at the seminary in Oregon.

In June 2009 Franciscan Father Alexander Manville was accused of the sexual abuse of an approximately eight-year-old boy in 1992-93. To date, the Franciscans have taken no steps to make this information public, and no steps to determine whether there are any other victims of Manville who have not come forward.

The Franciscans also have taken no steps to notify the communities in which Manville has been assigned over the course of his career as a Franciscan, including but not limited to the Santa Barbara community where for approximately thirteen years, from 1960-73, Manville served on the faculty at Bishop Diego High School.

Such action and inaction by the Franciscans has and will continue to produce disastrous results, as evidenced by the case of Fr. Louis Ladenburger. Ladenburger left the priesthood and the Franciscan order in 1996. However, early in his career as a Franciscan Ladenburger was treated for what former St. Anthony’s rector and Franciscan Provincial Minister, Mel Jurisich, has described only as "inappropriate professional behavior and relationships."

Such vague terms are standard procedure for the Franciscans when describing acts of childhood sexual abuse by their priests and religious brothers. After sending Ladenburger for treatment for his criminal conduct twice in the 1980s, the Franciscans allowed him to continue to work as a priest, including working at high schools. After another psychological review in 1993 the Franciscans were sufficiently concerned to restrict Ladenburger’s ministry.

However, at no time did the Franciscans report Ladenburger’s criminal acts to law enforcement. At no time did the Franciscans warn any families or communities where Ladenburger had worked or was working as a priest. As a result, when he left the priesthood nearly twenty-years after the Franciscans first learned of and began to conceal the risk he posed to children, Ladenburger had never been convicted of a sex crime, was not a registered sex offender, and only the Franciscans were aware of his pedophilic propensities.

An unknown number of children have been sexually assaulted by Ladenburger as a result.

In May of 2007 Ladenburger was arrested for sexually assaulting several children in Idaho.

When first contacted shortly after Ladenburger’s arrest the Franciscans denied having any record of past abuses by Ladenburger. After this initial denial, Fr. Jurisich finally admitted to Ladenburger’s sordid history, and the Franciscans’ knowledge since the 1980s of the risk he posed to children. Ladenburger has since pleaded guilty to lewd conduct with two boarding school students, and on March 24, 2008, was sentenced to five years in prison. The sentencing judge, the Honorable John Luster, found Ladenburger’s conduct so severe that he rejected a joint request by the prosecution and the defense of a suspended sentence. Ladenburger has admitted he is a sex addict. These latest victims are further evidence of the continuing threat to all children posed by the Franciscans’ refusal to warn the public of their current and former members who have been accused of sexual abuse.

Four months after the Franciscans first denied then admitted they knew about the threat posed by Ladenburger, they were at it again. One would hope that after decades of Franciscan sexual abuse and cover-ups, at some point – perhaps, for instance, now that the number of confirmed Santa Barbara victims of Franciscan childhood sexual abuse has risen to sixty-three – the Franciscan hierarchy would finally reconsider the corporation’s horribly flawed strategy of lying about and refusing to identify Franciscan priests and brothers accused of sexual abuse.

One would hope that after seeing today’s children continuing to be victimized as a result of this failed corporate strategy they would finally recognize that for the sake of both past and future victims, it was time to tell the truth.


Lawsuit quoted above filed by Tim Hale, attorney, of Santa Barbara

1 comment:

Graycard said...

You work is an inspiration. I'll follow along, until global outrage stops being "idle gossip". You might enjoy my modest proposal to save the church. Let's hold our breath until it happens. Ready? One, two...
Here's what might start some forgiveness moving:

1) Excommunicate and defrock everyone shown to have participated in the abuse and its coverup; report them to the civil authorities--I believe this is known as "relaxing [them] to the secular arm." (During the Inquisition, once the "Holy" church had finished racking and pulling fingernails and other picturesque interrogation techniques, would turn their "criminals" over to civil authorities to be hung, drawn and quartered--pulled into four pieces by horses--and/or burned alive. It was essential, then as now, to preserve the church's "purity.")
2) Collect all the "frocks" in question--to include the pope's own.
3) Erect enough wooden crosses in the St. Peter's piazza to accomodate all these suits.
4) Burn them on global television.
5) Require the pope to adopt a sackcloth-and-ashes outfit for the rest of his life and
6) spend 8 hours every day in silence on his knees hearing the victims describe their experiences.

That'll begin the atonement.