Wishful Adding

Diocese Report Cant Do the Math in Abuse Report


First mom:"I'm really proud of Bobby.
He's spending more and more time at church."
Second Mom: "My Timmy is, too!
But I don't understand why he comes home
with his underpants on backward."
Just weeks ahead of a national accounting of all evidence of priestly molestation in the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Orange released on Jan. 2 what it calls a comprehensive list of all credible allegations here since the founding of the diocese in 1976. The report doesn't name names, so it's hard to know how the church arrived at the figure of 16 priests molesting 47 children. Based on publicly documented incidents involving priests who have either admitted to molesting children, were named in civil lawsuits settled by the Diocese of Orange, were convicted of pedophilia, or had criminal charges filed against them that were dropped only because of statute of limitations concerns, we arrive at a different number. Just eight priests molested 52 children. Here's our math:

> Brother Gregory Atherton: Accused by two men of abusing them while he was musical director at St. Phillip Benizi in Fullerton during the 1970s and 1980s. The case was postponed after church officials agreed to enter mediation talks with the plaintiffs; discussions are ongoing.

> Father John Lenihan: In 2002, the dioceses of Orange and Los Angeles paid $1.2 million to Lori Haigh, who accused Lenihan of having impregnated her during the late 1970s, while she was a teenager and he was serving in St. Norbert Church in Orange. This came almost a decade after both dioceses paid Mary Grant $25,000 in 1991 after Lenihan admitted to molesting her in 1978 when she was 15.

> Father Denis Lyons: Lyons was arrested in April 2003 in his Seal Beach home on four counts of oral copulation and one of committing lewd acts upon a child more than 20 years ago at St. John the Baptist in Costa Mesa. To corroborate their case, county detectives included the testimony of three other males who also claimed that Lyons molested them while they were children. Charges were dropped against Lyons because the alleged abuses exceeded the statute of limitations for criminal cases.

> Brother Gary Pacheco: The former Franciscan friar was accused of molesting children while working at Huntington Beach's Saints Simon & Jude in the 1970s. The Franciscans settled two separate civil lawsuits filed against Pacheco during the early 1990s.

> Richard Coughlin: The founder of the All-American Boys Chorus was named in a 1994 lawsuit settled by the Diocese of Orange. He escaped criminal charges in 2000 after the Orange County District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute an investigation by Placentia police detective Corrine Loomis involving six other men with accusations against Coughlin, citing the statute of limitations.

> Father Andrew Christian Anderson: Anderson remains the only Orange County priest ever successfully prosecuted, convicted in 1986 of 26 counts of molesting four altar boys while serving at St. Bonaventure in Huntington Beach.

> Father Sigfried Widera: Widera was a fugitive at the time of his May 2003 death in Mexico. An arrest warrant was put out by Orange County prosecutors wishing to try the former OC priest on 33 counts of child molestation involving four boys from 1978 through 1985.

> Father Eleuterio Ramos: In a Orange police report filed May 28, 2003, Ramos admitted to molesting at least 25 preteen boys while serving as a priest for the Diocese of Orange from 1976 until his transfer to the Diocese of Tijuana in 1985. This is in addition to two lawsuits settled by the diocese in the early 1990s involving Ramos and two other boys.

 
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