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Diocese releases priests’ names: ‘Credible allegations’ made vs. 13 priests

By Chris Moore

chris.moore@panews.com

 

The Diocese of Beaumont on Thursday released names of 13 clergy members who had served in the diocese and had “credible allegations” of sexual abuse against a minor.

Of the 13, nine are dead. The list only contains names of priests who served the diocese since 1966. Prior to that year, the Beaumont area was under the Houston/ Galveston Diocese.

The list included:

  • Ronald Bollich (ordained in 1964) was suspended from ministry in May of 1994 and died in in 1996.
  • John Byrne, SSJ (Josephite) was removed from ministry around 1981 and died in 2014.
  • Dale Calhoun (ordained in 1968) went to the Diocese of Yakima in 1976 and had his public priestly ministry revoked by the bishop of the Diocese of Yakima around 1986.
  • Henry Drouilhet (ordained in 1928) died in 1988.
  • James Engle (ordained in 1963) died in 1999.
  • Albert Geoffroy (ordained in 1965) died in 2010
  • Earl Mudd (ordained in 1960) had his faculties revoked in November 1996, no public priestly ministry, no clerical garb. Mudd died Jan. 1.
  • Frank Paduch (ordained in 1989) had his faculties revoked in 2001, no priestly ministry, no clerical garb, granted dispensation from the clerical state by the pope in 2005.
  • Agust Pucar (ordained in 1963) faculties revoked in 2006, no public priestly ministry, no clerical garb. As directed by the Vatican Congregation for the Faith in 2007, he must lead a life of prayer and penance. Pucar died in 2012.
  • Jude Sivcoski (ordained in 1975) was arrested 1978 and pleaded “no contest” and received 10 years of probation. He was tried within the Diocese of Beaumont structure in 1987-89 with final judgment for dismissal. Priest filed appeals all the way to the Roman Rota and was dismissed from the clerical state by the pope in 1996.
  • Roger Thibodeaux (ordained in 1979) resigned from priestly ministry in 2002, had his faculties revoked, no clerical garb.
  • Joseph Tully (Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, ordainted in 1925) died in 1982.
  • Herman Vincent (ordained in 1933) died in 1985.

 

The parishes in which the clergy members served were not released.

“It really is a sad time,” Beaumont Bishop Curtis Guillory said. “I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that the victims are going through. I want to apologize to them for having been abused by a few priests. I know that is very painful and they carry that with them and so do their families.”

Guillory said the diocese is doing it can to make sure they can heal and to make sure it never happens again.

“One is too many,” Guillory said. “The last credible incident took place in 1994.”

Guillory said he put together a charter and a review board in 2002.

He said the charter requires a “very intense” training on how to prevent sexual abuse from happening.

The bishop said a “credible allegation” has to be relevant, reasonable and be corroborated with other sources. Guillory said the diocese takes any allegation to the local police or to the state office of Child Protective Services. Afterwards, the diocese would take it to a review board made of nine members of the community including an assistant police chief, judges, lawyers and a psychologist. The full list of names can be found at DioceseOfBeaumont.org by clicking on the “safe environment” tab.

Guillory said a the review board recommended releasing the 13 names to be shared with the public.

The bishop said if a victim comes forward, is credible and seeks counseling, the diocese will pay for it.

The victims’ positions in the church varied from alter boys to youth group members.

Guillory said young men continue to step forward to serve as priests, despite news accounts of abuse cases.

“When a young man applies, before he is accepted, he goes through a board of professionals,” he said. “Then, he is sent to a psychologist to get a battery of tests. All of that is done in order to get a fairly good idea of the person and personality in order to prevent these kind of things from happening.”

By revealing the names Thursday, the dioceses kept faith with an earlier pledge to release names of credibly accused priests by Jan. 31.