Who Are The Priests Named In The Colorado AG’s Special Report On Clerical Abuse?

October 23, 2019
CLERGY ABUSE REPORTCLERGY ABUSE REPORTHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks about the special master's report on clergy abuse at the Colorado Judicial Center, Oct. 23, 2019.

They were altar boys, campers, volunteers in the rectory and members of the choir. The victims of Colorado priests, detailed in a report released by the Colorado Attorney General, came from diverse backgrounds but had a few things in common. For starters, they were mostly teen boys, though a handful of girls were also victimized.

The abusers also had several things in common — most were repeat offenders, all took advantage of devout parishioners, many had close relationships with their victim’s families and few of them ever publicly confessed to their sins.

The report lists the name and history of all priests who the investigators believe had credible allegations of abuse lodged against them with officials in the three examined dioceses, police, or both, over the years. Only one remains in prison.

Here's a summary from the special master's report.


Denver

Leonard Abercrombie, died in 1994
Abused at least 18 Colorado boys between 1946 and leaving the state in 1972. Worked at Camp St. Malo in Allenspark, and at a number of parishes in Denver, including as chaplain at St. Anthony Hospital from 1969 to 1972, and rural Colorado, including in Kremmling, Keenesburg, Hugo and Roggen. The first victim filed a report in 1993, the last, thus far, in 2019.

Robert Banigan, unknown
One man reported this year to the Colorado attorney general that Banigan had abused him in 1961. Worked at St. Leo the Great Parish in Denver.

Thomas Barry, died in 2003
Abused one girl in the 1970s. Worked at St. Joseph’s Parish in Golden.

Joseph Bosetti, died in 1954
Abused a teen boy multiple times in the Denver Archdiocese’s Chancery Office in 1949 and 1950. Abuse reported in 2002.

Charles Brown, unknown
Accused of abusing a 13-year-old boy over 5 years from 1962 to 1966. Was assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Fort Collins. Abuse was reported in 2005 and Brown, who had moved to Santa Fe, NM, denied it occurred.

Rafael Jairo Calle, unknown
Accused of abusing two boys in 1997. Worked at St. Stephen Parish in Glenwood Springs, and left Colorado to return to Ecuador. Barred from working as a priest in Colorado.

Timothy Evans, imprisoned
Abused three children from 1990 to 1995. Worked at Spirit of Christ Parish in Arvada, Our Lady of Fatima in Lakewood and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Fort Collins. Reported in 2003, and convicted of multiple sexual assault charges in 2007. Sentenced to 14 years to life. Parole hearing scheduled for December.

Edward Fraczkowski, deceased
Accused of abusing one girl between 1967 and 1969, reported to archdiocese in 2015. Worked at St. Michael’s Parish in Craig.

Neil Hewitt, now in Arizona
Abused at least 8 boys in 4 parishes between 1962 and 1965, one of whom later committed suicide. Worked at St. Anthony Parish in Sterling, Annunciation Parish in Leadville and St. Therese Parish in Aurora. He voluntarily left the priesthood in 1979. Removed from priesthood in 2018. Admitted to seven incidents of abuse during interviews with investigators in August. 

John V. Holloway, deceased
Abused 6 boys in Roggen, Denver, Brush and Loveland between 1962 and 1982 in what investigators wrote “stands out as the most calculated, horrific and predatory we saw in our entire review.” Worked at Sacred Heart Parish in Roggen, Cathedral Parish in Denver, St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, St. John the Evangelist Parish in Loveland, St. Mary Parish in Brush and Risen Christ Parish in Denver. The Denver Archdiocese may have been aware of Holloway’s actions as early as 1969, but took no action.

Delisle Lemieux, deceased
Abused one boy in 1969. Worked at Notre Dame Parish. Reported in 2017. 

John McGinn, deceased
Abused an 8 year old girl around 1960. Worked at St. James Parish in Denver. Abuse reported to archdiocese in 1994 but no action was taken, and McGinn denied the abuse occurred. 

Francis Pettit, deceased
Abused teen girl in 1963. Worked at St. Therese Parish in Denver. Reported in 1989 by a witness to the abuse, but not acted upon by the archdiocese.

James Rasby, deceased
Abused teen boys in 1975 and 1990. Worked at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver and St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Denver among others. Abuse was first reported in 1975 but no action was taken against Rasby, who told a colleague he would seek counseling and rose to become a monsignor in the church and co-founded Samaritan House homeless shelter. After second incident was reported in 1990, the archdiocese required him to seek counseling, but took no action to move him or monitor him.

Leonard Scezney, unknown
Accused of fondling a teen girl in 1985 while working at Spirit of Christ Parish in Arvada. Reported to archdiocese in 2007. His responsibilities as priest were removed in 1992, for reasons unexplained in report, so no further action was taken after report was received in 2007.

John Harley Schmitt, deceased
Accused of abusing a pre-teen girl in 1963 and 1964 and a teen boy in 1963. Worked at All Saints Parish in Denver. Abuse was reported in 2010, after Schmitt was dead.

Lawrence St. Peter, deceased
Abused at least three teen boys in the 1960s to the 1980s. Was sent for treatment in a church facility, but restored as pastor of Holy Family Parish in Denver with no supervision.

“Since at least 1970, the Denver Archdiocese had received numerous, reliable, consistent reports that St. Peter was sexually abusing children,” the report said. “The Denver Archdiocese never passed a single one of those reports on to law enforcement even though St. Peter was alive and actively abusing children when Denver Archdiocese officials received them.”

St. Peter served as both the superintendent of schools for Catholic-operated schools in the archdiocese, and as administrator, essentially running the diocese for 7 months in the 1980s.

John Stein, deceased
Abused at least three boys in the 1950s and 60s. Worked at St. Catherine’s in Iliff. Was arrested in 1946 and 1956 for molesting boys, but no action was taken by the archdiocese.

George Weibel, deceased
Abused two girls in Glenwood Springs. Abuse was reported to a priest, who took no action and never notified the archdiocese.

Robert Whipkey, unknown
Appeared nude before a group of pre-teen boys he was supervising during a St. Anthony’s Parish School camping trip. Worked at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Sterling, Sacred Heart Parish in Peetz and St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Iliff. Denied sexual intent, but was referred for counseling by the archdiocese.

Harold Robert White, deceased
The report calls White “the most prolific known clergy child sex abuser in Colorado history.” He abused at least 63 children over 21 years in parishes in Denver, Colorado Springs, Sterling, Loveland, Minturn and Aspen. Despite receiving regular reports of his abuse, the archdiocese took no action to protect parishioners from White until 1993 and did not remove him from the priesthood until 2004. They never voluntarily reported him to police.

Thomas Woerth, retired
Woerth was accused of abusing a teen boy numerous times in the early 1970s. It was reported to the archdiocese in March of this year. He worked at Holy Trinity Parish in Colorado Springs and St. Mary’s High School. The allegation was reported to police. He has denied abusing the boy.


Colorado Springs

William Martinez, unknown
Accused of abusing two teen boys in the 1980s. Worked at Holy Apostles Parish in Colorado Springs and Annunciation Parish in Leadville. Abuse was reported to diocese in 1993, and he was placed on leave, but eventually returned to the ministry. No report was ever made to police.


Pueblo

John Beno, deceased
Accused in a complaint filed in 1995 of raping a 5-year-old girl in 1961. In a complaint filed in 2005, he was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in 1968 or 1969. Worked at Our Lady of the Assumption in Pueblo. Neither complaint was reported to law enforcement.

Delbert Blong, deceased
Abused 6 boys from the 1950s to the 1970s in La Junta and Alamosa. There are indications that the diocese was aware of Blong’s crimes almost from the time they began, but took no action until the sixth victim reported him in 1993. At that point, Blong admitted the allegation and was placed on leave. He was barred from performing mass and required to pay the diocese a $5,000 fine. He admitted in 1993 that he likely infected his victims with the HIV virus.

Leo Bonfadini, unknown
Abused a 17-year old boy in 1979. Worked at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Pueblo. Abuse was reported to the diocese in 1994 and Bonfadini neither admitted nor denied it. The diocese sent him for counseling and in 1995, he resigned. The abuse was not reported to law enforcement.

Walter Buetzler, deceased
Abused a pre-teen boy in 1953. Allegation was reported to diocese in 1990. Worked at St. Joseph Parish in Monte Vista. After receiving the complaint, Pueblo diocese initially showed the victim compassion, then threatened to sue him and seek to recover attorney’s fees if he pressed his complaint.

Andrew Burke, deceased
Abused three boys and engaged in “psychology experiments about what the human body can endure.” After first complaint, Pueblo Diocese required Burke to participate in approximately 24 counseling sessions from 1969 to 1973. They then transferred him to another rectory and he eventually had a job at Parkview Hospital. The priest committed suicide and because he was dead, they did not report the most latest abuse claim to law enforcement -- instead settling two of the victims’ lawsuits.

Michael DeScoise, retired and suspended from the priesthood
Accused of abusing a teen boy in 1986 or 1987. Worked at St. Joseph’s Parish in Grand Junction. Diocese had received several complaints about Descoise’s conduct with adults, but not about children until this complaint was filed in 2018. DeScoise repeatedly denied the allegation.

William Gleeson, deceased
Abused a teen boy in 1969, and the allegation was reported to the diocese in 1993. Worked at St. Pius Parish in Pueblo. Denied the allegation but was ordered to undergo psychological evaluations and attend therapy. The allegation was not passed to law enforcement until 2019, after Gleeson’s death.

William Groves, unknown
Accused of abusing three boys, one of whom may have been as young as 8, in the 1980s. Worked at St. Mary Parish in Walsenburg, St. Leander Parish in Pueblo, St. Columba Parish in Durango and Ignatius Mission Parish in Ignacio. His third victim notified police and Groves was convicted of sexual abuse

John Haberthier, deceased
Abused four teen and pre-teen boys in the 1970s. Worked at St. Francis Xavier Parish. The diocese was aware of his crimes and required him to see a counselor regularly, though complaints were not made to police until 2007, shortly before Haberthier died. It is likely that Haberthier also abused boys in Dodge City, Kansas and San Bernardino, Calif. 

Gary Kennedy, retired
Accused of abusing a teen boy in the late 1960s when he worked at St. Mary Parish in Montrose. Abuse was reported in September of 2019 and the complaint was forwarded to Montrose Police, who are investigating.

Michael Krol, deceased
Krol abused three teen boys in the early 1960s when he worked at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lamar. When the first allegation was received by the diocese, Krol left town, eventually applying to be a priest in Norwich, Conn. and Miami. The Pueblo diocese declined to provide him with a positive letter of reference but did not disclose the complaints against Krol to other dioceses. He went on to abuse boys in Norwich, and had additional complaints filed against him in Austin, Texas.

Daniel Maio, deceased
Abused two teen boys in the 1960s. Worked at the Diocesan offices and St. Patrick Parish. Diocese was notified in 2010, but never reported the allegations to police.

Philip Marin, deceased
Abused a 5- or 6-year-old girl in 1956 or 1957. Worked at Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Trinidad. The abuse was reported to the diocese in 2009, but not reported to police until 2018.

John Martin, deceased
Abused a teen boy in 1971 along with fellow priest Andrew Burke. Worked at St. Pius X Parish in Pueblo. Abuse was reported in 2006, though there are signs the diocese was aware of his crimes before that. He was transferred from the parish to work with inmates at Colorado State Penitentiary in 1974.

Clifford Norman, unknown
Abused a pre-teen boy in 1968. The abuse was reported to diocese in 1998. Worked at St. William’s Church. Norman left the priesthood in 1975 and when confronted years later, he denied abusing the boy. 

Joseph Reade, deceased
Abused two pre-teen boys in the early 1970s and 1980s in Grand Junction and then Pueblo while he was working at the Diocese. The Pueblo Diocese didn’t know about the Grand Junction incident. The church initially suspended Reade’s faculties after the second victim came forward, but then restored them when they found one of the victim’s claims were unsubstantiated. It did not report him to law enforcement.

Lawrence Sievers, unknown
Abused a teen girl in 1969. He worked at St. Joseph’s Parish in Grand Junction. Abuse first reported in 2014, then reported again in 2018. Sievers left the ministry in 1973 and the allegation was not reported to police by the diocese until 2018.

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