Phoenix Diocese releases names of priests accused of abusing children

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has released the names of 29 clergy members convicted or accused of abusing children. The move makes Phoenix the 25th diocese in the U.S. to publish such a list for all to see.

All but one of the names on the list, Harry Morgan, had already been made public. The list did not include the names of priests who were accused posthumously.

"The decision not to include the names of deceased clerics is because they were accused after their death and therefore no canonical proceedings were able to take place," reads the Charter Cleric Report. "This does not mean that the Diocese of Phoenix did not find claims of particular survivors who accused those deceased clerics to be credible or compelling. The Diocese has provided or offered counseling and other support services to those survivors."

The Diocese of Phoenix published the 29 names on four lists on its website just months after the 10th anniversary of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which dictates how allegations of child abuse by Catholic clergy should be handled.

"Since 2002, when the U.S. Bishops adopted what is often referred to as the 'Dallas Charter,' we have made great strides in fulfilling our promise to protect children and youth and to bring healing to those who have suffered abuse," wrote Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead on the diocese's website.

While the diocese named names, there was quite a bit of information that was not included.

No legal charges were laid out. The number of victims and the compensation they received was not disclosed either.

It's not clear exactly how much the sex abuse scandal has cost the Diocese of Phoenix. There are no hard national numbers, but different estimates put the total expense for the Catholic Church between $2 billion and $3 billion.

The 2004 John Jay report, which was based on volunteer surveys by U.S. dioceses, estimated that there were more than 10,600 victims of sex abuse at the hands of clergy between 1950 and 2002. The majority of those victims were boys.

While some believe the Phoenix Diocese's decision to publish the list of the accused is a good step toward transparency, others say it's not enough.

Priest and deacons laicized and/or removed from ministry to due sexual misconduct with a minor (15 names)

  • George Bredemann (laicized 2003, deceased 2012)
  • Joseph Briceno (laicized 2010)
  • Patrick Colleary (removed from ministry 2002)
  • John Doran (deceased 1997)
  • Laurence Florez (deceased 2002)
  • Dale Fushek (laicized 2009)
  • John Giandelone (laicized 1992)
  • Harold Graf (removed from ministry 2002)
  • Mark Lehman (laicized 2002)
  • Joseph Lessard (removed from ministry 2002)
  • Harry Morgan (deceased 1995)
  • Maxwell "Ron" Pelton - (retired-inactive 2001, deceased 2010)
  • George Pirrung (removed from ministry 2003)
  • Lan Sherwood (removed from ministry 1993)
  • John T. Sullivan (deceased 199)

Priests and deacon who have been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor and have a case pending (1 name)

Priests of religious communities who have served in the Diocese of Phoenix and have been laicized and/or removed from ministry by their communities due to sexual misconduct with a minor (10 names)

  • Neil Emon (Removed from ministry 2002, no allegations in the Diocese of Phoenix)
  • Joseph Henn (status unknown)
  • Louis Ladenburger (left priestly ministry in 1996)
  • Paul LeBrun (removed from ministry by Holy Cross 2003)
  • Karl LeClaire (removed from ministry by Salvatorians 2001)
  • Jorge Ortiz Lopez (removed from ministry by Franciscan 2003)
  • Lawrence Lovell (laicized 1992)
  • Donald McGuire (laicized 2008)
  • Richard Ohlemacher (deceased 2005, no allegations in the Diocese of Phoenix)
  • Henry Perez (deceased 2003)

Priests from other dioceses who may no longer serve in the Diocese of Phoenix due to an accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor (3 names)

  • Jorge Cordova (left Phoenix in 1997)
  • Sung Lam (left Phoenix in 1994, allegation made 1993, no prosecution)
  • Lawrence Riebe (Chiapas, Mexico; no allegations in the Diocese of Phoenix)