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San Diego Catholic Diocese Adds 8 Priests To List Of Sexual Predators

The San Diego Diocesan Pastoral Center, headquarters for the Roman Catholic C...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: The San Diego Diocesan Pastoral Center, headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church in the San Diego Diocese is shown Tuesday, February 27, 2007.

The Diocese of San Diego added eight priests to the list of those believed to have molested children as part of a clerical sexual abuse scandal involving the Roman Catholic Church, it was reported on Friday.

The new names — the Revs. Jose Chavarin, Raymond Etienne, J. Patrick Foley, Michael French, Richard Houck, George Lally and Paolino Montagna, plus Monsignor Mark Medaer — were released in piecemeal fashion, with critical details missing, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The list extends the roster of predator priests established by a legal case that was concluded 11 years ago. On Sept. 7, 2007, the diocese settled 144 claims of child sexual abuse by 48 priests and one lay employee, the Union-Tribune reported. The payments totaled $198.1 million, the second-largest settlement by a Catholic diocese in the United States.

"This is a response to the terrible moment we are in,'' Bishop Robert McElroy told the newspaper, citing a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report that found 1,000 children had been molested by Pittsburgh area priests there, and the resignation of Theodore McCarrick, who is accused of sexually assaulting altar boys, seminarians and priests.

"There is a broad call for transparency,'' McElroy told the newspaper. "When we looked at it, we wanted to meet that as best we could.''

The newly listed priests were accused of abuse since the 2007 settlement or reported to the diocese earlier in files that had been tucked away or mislaid, according to the Union-Tribune. They were overlooked until a recent review of records.

"They never kept good records on this stuff until recently,'' McElroy told the newspaper. "They kept records, but not in a very systematic way.''

McElroy will embark on a tour of eight public forums at parishes in San Diego County between Oct. 1 and Nov. 5 to address the scandal of clergy sexual abuse.

Diocesan spokesman Kevin Eckery says there have been no new reports of abuse received since 2004, but the diocese is ready to listen to anyone who comes forward.

"If anybody knows of somebody who should be on the list, or who was victimized by somebody on the list, we want to hear from them," he said. "At a minimum we want to provide them with counseling but more importantly we want people to heal and we want to make sure the truth is out there."

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