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Thursday, August 19, 2010

PROOF: Santa Barbara was Dumping Ground for problem priests. PROOF: Franciscan sex crime ploys continue in 2009

(Another Summer Rerun: This 8-part series* began November 20, 2009, at City of Angels Blog.)

Part One: The bishop of San Diego used the words "dumping ground" in 1950 when he wrote to the Vatican that too many problem priests were ending up in Banning, Beaumont and other towns in the developing region. By the 1960s the Franciscans had moved 26 priests from San Diego to Santa Barbara, where they then raped more than 60 children. The letter to Rev. James T. Booth in Rome April 26, 1950, is Exhibit A attached to two new lawsuits filed Nov. 3, 2009, in Santa Barbara Superior Court.

Franciscan pedophiles removed from the priesthood in past years, are now showing up as therapists and teachers- Working with Teenagers, Living near Children- in towns around the Northwestern United States, because the Francicans continue to hide the crimes of their pedophile priests, other evidence in the Complaints shows.

* (Series Continues with Part Two "A New Sex Crime Ploy by Franciscans" Part Three: "Money Available for Therapy for Victims" Part Four "Franciscan Grabbed Freshman by the Genitals" Part Five: "Pedophilia is a Privacy Right for Franciscans" and Part 6 is here "Priests Take Boys on Drunken Camping Trip." Part 7 is here "First Year in Seminary, Assaulted by two Franciscans")

There are so many new charges, so much new evidence, new stories about old pedophile priests and old stories about new ones in the pages of these two new lawsuits filed November 3 in Santa Barbara that City of Angels has to break our reporting into several different parts.

The letter from the Bishop of San Diego to the Pope in 1950 reads:

"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. (From Exhibit A, attached as evidence to two new lawsuits filed November 3, 2009 in Santa Barbara Superior Court.)

The Complaint then says the Bishop was frustrated with the Franciscans and began applying to religious bodies in Rome to evict the problem Franciscan Friars from parishes in the Diocese of San Diego.

"It would appear the Bishop eventually succeeded," read the Complaints, "and sometime in the 1950s the Franciscans made Santa Barbara their new dumping ground for Franciscan perpetrators.”

The legal briefs read like literature, so here are paragraphs, City of Angels copy-and-pasted from Paragraphs of two First Complaints, written by Tim Hale of the Nye Peabody Stirling & Hale lawfirm in Santa Barbara.

“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.”

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 San Diego 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:

26 Pedophile Priests Transferred From San Diego to Santa Barbara:

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)"


First Complaints Read Like Literature

(Both First Complaints contain the paragraphs below, which as a Blogger, I love, as I don't have to do anything but cut and paste, they are written so well.)

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.

If the Church does not handle the pedophile priest problem, U.S. taxpayers end up paying for damages.


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.

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. 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:

Franciscan 'Did Not Think It Appropriate' to Tell Parishioners New Priest is Admitted Pedophile

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 Arizona, didn't notify parishioiners new priest was a pedophile. 'Probably should have.'

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."

Dallas Morning News Forces Franciscans to Admit Priest a Pedophile

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.

Continuing to hide pedophiles at Old Santa Barbara Mission

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.

2001: Father Kain Abuses Again, Gets Moved to San Francisco

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.

No One Knows Where Father Mateo Guererro Goes

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.

Perpetrator Punishment: Become Manager of Retreat Center for School-Aged Children. Pedophile priest still at San Luis Rey in 2008.

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.

Now Oregon Seems to Be New Dumping Ground for Predator Pedophile Priests in the Franciscans.

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.

Pedophilia among the priests keeps going on and on, because the Church has changed nothing within, where the problem germinated and festered for decades.

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.

(Quotes from First Complaints filed November 3, 2009, in Santa Barbara Superior Court, continued:)

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."

New Euphemism for pedophile priests' crimes: "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.

Ladenburger accused in 1980s, arrested in 2007. How many more kids was he able to rape in those 27 years?

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.

The Story Is Not Over

(More Quotes Copy and Pasted Directly from First Complaints filed Nov. 3 in Santa Barbara Superior Court:)

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 (63) – 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.

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.

The Franciscans have learned nothing from the sad events involving Ladenburger, much less from their sordid history. Instead, they continue to re-victimize survivors of Franciscan sexual abuse, to create new victims, and to increase the resulting financial burden on society, by continuing to lie, conceal and cover-up the identities of Franciscans who pose a risk to children.

Part Two Coming In a Matter of Moments, Hours, or Days, depending on how much work I have to do for the reality TV shows I work for - ke


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* Series Continues with Part Two A New Sex Crime Ploy by Franciscans Part Three: Money Available for Therapy for VictimsPart Four Franciscan Grabbed Freshman by the Genitals Part Five Pedophilia is a Privacy Right for FranciscansPart 6 is here and Priests Take Boys on Drunken Camping TripPart 7 is here First Year in Seminary, Assaulted by two Franciscans)
Posted as a summer rerun today by Kay Ebeling, The City of Angels Is Everywhere

1 comment:

city of angels lady said...

Arthur Baselice emailed this comment:

I hope the catholic church MOLESTS ITSELF RIGHT OUT OF BUSINESS !!!!