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Bishop Gives Police Names of 20 Priests

April 28, 2002|RICHARD WINTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The bishop of San Bernardino has given police the names of 20 priests accused of sexually abusing minors, including four men still active in the diocese, after reviewing clergy files dating back 50 years.

The diocese will not publicly disclose the names of the four active priests, but has assured that they are not working near children, said the Rev. Howard Lincoln, diocese spokesman.

Altogether, he said, the diocese reported 22 allegations involving 20 priests to the San Bernardino Police Department's sex crimes unit. Four of those 20 priests are dead, one has left the country and another 11 are retired or part of a religious order not directly under the control of the bishop, Lincoln said.

Gerald R. Barnes, the bishop of San Bernardino, recently ordered more than 400 files of current and former priests checked for allegations of sexual abuse.

Barnes, who oversees the nation's 12th largest diocese, with 145 priests and 1 million baptized Catholics, decided the extensive review was necessary because of the current allegations that have rocked the church nationwide, Lincoln said. The diocese includes San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

San Bernardino police Det. Gordon Jones said three detectives are reviewing the files and plan to distribute them to appropriate law enforcement agencies. "We are just beginning to go through the documents," he said.

One name not among those given to police was the Rev. Paul Shanley, Lincoln said. Shanley, who is accused of molesting children dating back to 1967 in the Boston Archdiocese, was transferred to the San Bernardino diocese in 1990 with no warning of past allegations. Lincoln said no one in the San Bernardino diocese has come forward with an allegation against Shanley.

San Bernardino diocese officials also found the names of six priests whose allegations have been resolved, Lincoln said.

The Rev. Ed Ball was convicted in 1992 and 2001 of child molestation and is serving three years in prison, Lincoln said, and the Rev. Anthony Rodrigues was dismissed from the priesthood in the 1980s after a similar conviction.

Lincoln said another of the six priests was convicted in 1987 of child molestation and left the country. Three other priests were cleared of wrongdoing.

Since the mid-1990s, Lincoln said, "the diocese has never given a second chance for any priest who molested a child."

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