The Diocese of Sacramento has become the most recent Catholic diocese to release a list of priests’ names who’ve been accused of the sexual abuse of minors. The list contained the names of 44 priests and deacons who served in the Diocese since the 1950’s.
Bishop Jaime Soto had vowed to release the list late last year but the compilation and research of personnel files had delayed the announcement until this week.
The Diocese was established in the late 19th century and covers northern California up to the Oregon border.
According to the Sacramento Bee, “In November of last year, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced his office was gathering information on clergy sex abuse, calling for victims to submit complaints. It is unclear whether the office will launch a statewide grand jury investigation similar to the explosive Pennsylvania grand jury report released last summer that found Bishops and other church leaders covered up the widespread child sexual abuse of more than 300 priests over a 70-year period.”
There is also legislation pending that would provide California survivors of sexual abuse another window in which to file civil lawsuits against entities such as the Catholic Church.
The Three Main Priests Accused
The number of priests accused of wrongdoing represents roughly three percent of the men who ministered to Catholics in the Sacramento region in the last 70 years. However, nearly half the victims who made accusations against Sacramento-area priests said they were victimized by three men – Francisco Javier, Mario Blanco and Gerardo Beltran.
Javier was ordained as a priest in Mexico before moving to the Sacramento area in 1978. He served at churches in Rio Vista, Isleton, Walnut Grove and Galt for two years. He returned to Mexico for five years and then returned to the Sacramento area. The first accusations against Javier were made by multiple accusers in 1995. Javier was accused of sexual touching, fondling and sodomy by the family of a boy under the age of 14. It was one of three separate accusations made against Javier in 1995 that involved boys under the age of 14, records show.
Javier was removed from ministry and fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution, church officials said. Since his alleged flight from justice, the accusations have continued to come in – 24 in total, all involving young male victims. The last one was filed with the diocese in 2018. Javier was dismissed from the priesthood in 2007.
Beltran stands accused of sexually molesting 15 children between 1982 and 1991. Beltran served under Bishop Quinn who served the Diocese of Sacramento for 13 years. Quinn admitted before his death that he and other bishops worked to cover up the sexual abuse scandal.
Many of the priests named by the diocese have been the subject of lawsuits.
In one of the diocese’s largest settlements, the church agreed to pay $35 million to 33 victims who accused 10 priests in the Sacramento region of sexual abuse. Blanco and Javier were among those identified. Blanco died in 2008. Beltran and Garcia fled to Mexico after police began investigating allegations of abuse.
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Attorney Joe Saunders has experience working with those who have suffered abuse from priests. His dedicated website, AbuseAdvocate.com discusses the history of and recent news on these cases. If you or a loved one have been abused please contact us today for a free confidential consultation.