Three former San Antonio priests accused of child sexual assault

FILE- In this Sept. 24, 2015, file photo a member of the clergy prays the rosary as he waits for Pope Francis to arrive at St. Patrick's Cathedral for evening prayer service in New York. Across the U.S., Catholics once faithful with their financial support to their churches are searching for ways to respond to the constant sex-abuse scandals that have tarnished the institution in which they believe, with back-to-back scandals in the past two months. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

SAN ANTONIO - Three priests with San Antonio ties have been named in a list of Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual abuse to minors.

Francis Landwermeyer worked at Central Catholic High School and St. Cecilia's Church, according to the list provided by the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province. Landwermeyer was removed from ministry in 2010 and died this year.

Austin Park, who died in 2013, was already out of ministry when the allegations came to light. Park worked at Our Lady of the Guadalupe Parish.

The third is Alfonso Madrid, who had more than one allegation against him. Madrid passed in 1982 and worked for Our Lady of the Guadalupe as well.

It is not clear whether or not the allegations came from their time in San Antonio.

The San Antonio Archdiocese is working to prepare a list of all area priests with allegations.

It said the list should be ready to be released in January, as the Catholic church works to find a way to get ahead of the worldwide sex abuse scandal.

The list does not imply the allegations are true or not, says the Jesuit Province.

Below, you can find the names. The list of where the accused work, can be found here.

  • Michael O. Barry, SJ
  • Charles Bartles, SJ
  • Jody Blanchard, SJ
  • Claude P. Boudreaux, SJ
  • John Campbell, SJ
  • Cornelius J. Carr, SJ (New York Province which is now part of USA Northeast Province)
  • Mark A. Clark, SJ
  • Francis X. Cleary SJ
  • James A. Condon, SJ (Chicago Province which is now part of USA Midwest Province)
  • Charles G. Coyle, SJ
  • Edward D. DeRussy, SJ
  • Donald Dickerson, SJ
  • Burton J. Fraser, SJ (Wisconsin Province which is now part of USA Midwest Province)
  • Chester E. Gaiter, SJ
  • Thomas J. Hatrel, SJ
  • Thomas J. Hidding, SJ
  • John W. Hough, SJ
  • Francis J. Kegel, SJ
  • Dennis P. Kirchoff, SJ
  • Bernard P. Knoth, SJ (Chicago Province which is now part of USA Midwest Province)
  • Philip D. Kraus, SJ
  • Francis M. Landwermeyer, SJ
  • Gerhardt B. Lehmkuhl, SJ
  • Alfonso Madrid, SJ (Province of Mexico)
  • Eugene A. Maio, SJ
  • Vincent R. Malatesta, SJ
  • James L. McShane, SJ
  • Edward P. Murphy, SJ
  • Thomas J. Naughton, SJ (Priest of the New Orleans Province, NOT Brother Thomas Naughton of the Missouri Province)
  • Patrick H. O’Liddy, SJ
  • Vincent A. Orlando, SJ
  • Claude L. Ory, SJ (Brother, formerly in New Orleans Province, now Maryland Province)
  • Austin N. Park SJ
  • J. Donald Pearce, SJ
  • George M. Pieper, SJ
  • Paul C. Pilgram, SJ
  • Elmo J. Rogero, SJ
  • Norman J. Rogge, SJ
  • Anthony J. Short, SJ
  • Arthur O. Verdieck, SJ
  • Richard H. Witzofsky, SJ (Brother)
  • Benjamin Wren, SJ

The Archdiocese of San Antonio released the following statement:

"Three Jesuit priests who served in the Archdiocese of San Antonio were included on a list of names of Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that was released today (Dec. 7) by the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province.
Included in the list was Rev. Alfonso Madrid, SJ, who served at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on El Paso Street near downtown San Antonio. Madrid died in 1982, and the estimated timeframe of abuse committed by him was in the 1960s and 1970s. He was deceased when the allegations were received. The Archdiocese of San Antonio informed the Our Lady of Guadalupe community of allegations against Madrid in 2015.
Rev. Austin N. Park, SJ, who also served at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church from 1957-1958 and again from 1961-1963, was included on the list as well. The estimated timeframe of the abuse allegations is the 1960s. Park was already out of ministry due to dementia when the allegations were received by the Jesuits, and he died in 2013.
In addition, Rev. Francis M. Landwermeyer, SJ, was named on the Jesuit list also. Landwermeyer served in San Antonio beginning in 1990 until 2004. He served as pastor of St. Cecilia Church, as a parochial vicar and in residence at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, in residence at St. Brigid Church, and as a teacher at both Central Catholic High School and Antonian College Preparatory High School. He was removed from ministry in 2010, left the Society of Jesus and priesthood in 2011, and died in 2018.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio does not know of any allegations that Landwermeyer sexually abused children in the archdiocese. The archdiocese will verify this with the Jesuit province.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio received allegations against Park in late September of this year. The allegations again both Rev. Madrid and Rev. Park were included among information sent to the Lay Commission on Clergy Sexual Abuse of Minors in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, which is being led by Judge Catherine M. Stone, retired Chief Justice of the Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals, and was announced by Archbishop Gustavo GarcĂ­a-Siller, MSpS, on Oct. 10. The archdiocese is currently compiling a report examining the handling of clergy sexual abuse of minors since 1940. It will include a list of names of all clergy against whom there has been an accusation of abuse of a minor which seems to be true. It will also examine current procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors, in place since 2002, from the perspectives both of care for survivors and investigation of the priest or deacon. The commission will fully audit this report and offer recommendations to improve procedures.
The information contained in the list from the Jesuits is being taken extremely seriously by the archdiocese. The Archdiocese of San Antonio asks anyone with information or concerns regarding Madrid, Park, or Landwermeyer to contact Steve Martinez, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Victim Assistance and Safe Environment, at (210) 734-7786 or (877) 700-1888, or e-mail at ovase@archsa.org. The Office of Victim Assistance and Safe Environment was created in order to be the initial contact point for those who have experienced clergy abuse. The office provides pastoral care including individual, group, and spiritual counseling to assist in the healing process. The archdiocesan procedures for reporting abuse can be found at: https://www.archsa.org/images/uploads/Reporting_Procedures_2016.pdf
An announcement concerning these allegations against Rev. Landwermeyer will be placed in the parish bulletins at St. Cecilia Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, St. Brigid Church, in Today’s Catholic newspaper, posted on the archdiocesan website at www.archsa.org and the communities at Central Catholic and Antonian High School will be notified as well. In addition, the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church community will be informed also of the allegations against Rev. Park, as well as notification being listed on the archdiocesan website and newspaper.
In 2002 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which commits the prelates to respond promptly and compassionately to victims, report the abuse of minors, remove offenders, and take ongoing action to prevent abuse. The Charter was updated in 2011 and again in 2018.
We pledge to maintain safe environments for everyone, and all policies and procedures regarding training and background check requirements are publicly available.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio remains strongly committed to restoring trust and healing the wounds of anyone who may have been hurt by sexual abuse. The archdiocese will continue to work toward making every Catholic parish, school and institution a safe harbor for all. Nothing will deter the archdiocese from this vital effort toward a better future for everyone in need."

2 Jesuit provinces releases 153 names of accused abusers

By JIM SALTER, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two Roman Catholic Jesuit provinces that cover nearly half the U.S. released the names Friday of more than 150 priests and other ministry leaders who were found to have "credible allegations" of sexual abuse made against them dating to the 1950s.

Jesuits West, which covers 10 western states, said its internal investigation found credible allegations against 111 priests, brothers or priests in training who were connected to it dating back to 1950. No one on the list is involved in public ministry any longer, it said.

Hours earlier, the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province, which covers 13 states along with Puerto Rico and the Central American country of Belize, released the names of 42 men who had ties to the province going back to 1955. It said four are still members of the province but are not active in ministry and live in supervised housing.

Many of the men on the two lists have died, and others have been dismissed of ordination, officials said. Most of the men on the lists were priests.

A third province that covers several Midwestern states, the Midwest Province, is due to announce its own findings on Dec. 17.

The Jesuits are a Catholic order that includes more than 16,000 men worldwide. Jesuits also operate several high schools and universities, including St. Louis University and Marquette University. Jesuits take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and many also take a vow of allegiance to the Pope.

The Jesuits have previously settled lawsuits across the country, including a $166 million settlement involving about 500 abuse claims in Oregon in 2011, which was one of the largest settlements involving clergy abuse allegations.

U.S. Central and Southern Provincial Ronald Mercier, who heads the U.S. Central and Southern Province, said the "storm" facing the Catholic church must be confronted with transparency.

"Words cannot possibly suffice to express our sorrow and shame for what occurred, our promise of prayers for healing, and our commitment to work with them," Mercier said in a statement. "Caring for these survivors — and preventing any such future events — must be our focus as we move forward."

Jesuits West Provincial Scott Santarosa apologized on behalf of the province.

"It is inconceivable that someone entrusted with the pastoral care of a child could be capable of something so harmful," Santarosa said in a news release. "Yet, tragically, this is a part of our Jesuit history, a legacy we cannot ignore."

Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based attorney who specializes in clergy abuse lawsuits, said publishing the lists was the "right thing to do," and it empowers victims to both come forward and move ahead in their lives.

"To a survivor who has been abused by one of these people, it helps them realize, 'I'm not the only one, I'm not alone,'" Anderson said. "It can inspire them to get help, to share the secret, and to find a better way of life."

David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, urged the Jesuits to "explain exactly when each of these allegations was deemed credible. That way Catholics will know just how many months, years or decades church officials have kept these men and their crimes hidden."

Cases of sexual abuse by priests and other religious leaders have come under increased scrutiny since August, when a grand jury report in Pennsylvania detailed decades of abuse and cover-up in six dioceses. The report alleged that more than 1,000 children were abused over several years by about 300 priests.

The report led to new examinations in several dioceses, and some renewed law enforcement scrutiny.

Pope Francis has convened a summit for Feb. 21-24 at the Vatican to address ways to prevent sexual abuse.

The lists of names in both provinces were compiled internally, but both say they have hired a consulting firm to perform an independent review in the spring.

The Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province covers Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, southern Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma, along with Puerto Rico and Belize.

Jesuits West includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

The nation's other two Jesuit provinces, Maryland and Northeast provinces, are in the process of merging and "agree that accountability and transparency are of the utmost importance," Maryland Province spokesman Michael Gabriele said.

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