3 for­mer lo­cal priests on ac­cused list

Je­suit or­der says cler­gy­men who worked in S.A. may have sex­u­ally abused mi­nors in ’60s, ’70s

San Antonio Express-News - - METRO - By Elaine Ayala

A U.S.-based com­po­nent of the Je­suit or­der of Ro­man Catholic priests on Fri­day be­came the new­est Catholic in­sti­tu­tion to iden­tify some of its own as “cred­i­bly ac­cused” in the sex­ual abuse of mi­nors, list­ing among them three for­mer San An­to­nio cler­gy­men, now de­ceased.

The state­ment came from the U.S. Cen­tral and South­ern Prov­ince — one of two prov­inces of the Je­suits, also known as the So­ci­ety of Je­sus, that made such an­nounce­ments Fri­day.

It named the three San An­to­nio priests as Al­fonso Madrid, who served at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church on the West Side; Fran­cis M. Landw­er­meyer, who worked at Cen­tral Catholic and An­to­nian high schools and St. Ce­cilia Catholic Church; and Austin N. Park, who also worked at Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“Words can­not pos­si­bly suf­fice to ex­press our sor­row and shame for what oc­curred,” Fa­ther Ronald Mercier, pro­vin­cial leader of the Cen­tral and South­ern Prov­ince, said in the state­ment.

It said the al­leged abuse by the three priests hap­pened in the 1960s and ’70s, but did not spec­ify where. Each had more that one al­le­ga­tion made against him, the or­der said.

The three men worked in mul­ti­ple cities. Park, for ex­am­ple, had 17 pas­toral as­sign­ments al­to­gether.

A news re­lease Fri­day from the Arch­dio­cese of San An­to­nio said Our Lady of Guadalupe’s par­ish had been in­formed of the al­le­ga­tions against Madrid in 2015. Je­suits have served the par­ish since 1932 but will be leav­ing it this month due to a short­age of priests.

Madrid, who died in 1982 be­fore the al­le­ga­tions were re­ceived, also worked in Je­suit High School in New Or­leans, a par­ish in Al­bu­querque, N.M., and two in El Paso, ac­cord­ing to Fri­day’s an­nounce­ment.

Landw­er­meyer, who died this year, was re­moved from min­istry in 2010 and left the or­der and the priest­hood the fol­low­ing year, the Je­suits’ an­nounce­ment said.

He had worked in Je­suit schools

in Dal­las, Shreve­port, La., New Or­leans and Tampa, Fla., and at Mar­quette and Loy­ola uni­ver­si­ties, among other as­sign­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to the arch­dio­cese, Landw­er­meyer worked in San An­to­nio from 1990 to 2004, serv­ing as pas­tor at St. Ce­cilia church, and as a parochial vicar and in res­i­dence at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and St. Brigid Church.

The arch­dio­cese “does not know of any al­le­ga­tions that Landw­er­meyer sex­u­ally abused chil­dren in the arch­dio­cese,” its news re­lease said. “The arch­dio­cese will ver­ify this with the Je­suit prov­ince.”

Park, who died in 2013, was “al­ready out of min­istry due to de­men­tia” when the al­le­ga­tions were re­ceived, the Je­suit prov­ince said. It put the time frame for the al­leged abuse in the 1960s.

The arch­dio­cese said Park served at Guadalupe par­ish from 1957-58 and 1961-63. The arch­dio­cese also said it re­ceived al­le­ga­tions against Park in late Septem­ber.

In ad­di­tion to San An­to­nio, Park had pas­toral as­sign­ments at Je­suit high schools in El Paso, Shreve­port, New Or­leans and Cole­gio San Ig­na­cio in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, as well as in 12 other schools and parishes.

Arch­bishop Gus­tavo Gar­cíaSiller did not ad­dress the ac­cu­sa­tions di­rectly Fri­day, but a news re­lease from the arch­dio­cese said, “We pledge to main­tain safe en­vi­ron­ments for ev­ery­one, and all poli­cies and pro­ce­dures re­gard­ing train­ing and back­ground check re­quire­ments are pub­licly avail­able.”

The arch­dio­cese “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.”

The Je­suits’ on­line an­nounce­ments come about a month be­fore the sched­uled re­lease of a list of “cred­i­bly ac­cused” priests from the arch­dio­cese. An out­side com­mis­sion is au­dit­ing arch­dio­cese records of about 150 such cases and its re­port, ex­pected Jan. 31, is to be made pub­lic.

The arch­dio­cese said Fri­day that al­le­ga­tions about Madrid and Park were in­cluded in the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided to the com­mis­sion, which is led by for­mer Texas 4th Court of Ap­peals Judge Catherine Stone.

In Oc­to­ber, Gar­cía-Siller promised a full dis­clo­sure of ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ual abuse of chil­dren by priests and said the com­mis­sion would re­view files go­ing back 75 years.

Also in Oc­to­ber, the arch­dio­cese re­moved Fa­ther Ed­ward Pavlicek from min­istry over a child sex­ual abuse al­le­ga­tion in the 1980s. He was serv­ing as pas­tor of St. Thomas the Apos­tle Church in Canyon Lake.

A Penn­syl­va­nia grand jury re­port in­cluded Fa­ther David Connell, who served in San An­to­nio from 1976 to his death in 1995. In Penn­syl­va­nia, Connell was ac­cused of drug­ging and rap­ing a mi­nor on at least two oc­ca­sions, sex­u­ally abus­ing the vic­tim’s brother and try­ing to have sex with an­other vic­tim on a camp­ing trip.

The U.S. Cen­tral and South­ern Prov­ince an­nounce­ment on Fri­day said its list in­cluded “Je­suits from other prov­inces against whom there are cred­i­ble claims re­sult­ing from their work while as­signed to this prov­ince; (and) Je­suits of this prov­ince whose names have been pub­lished on dioce­san web­sites or the web­sites of other Je­suit prov­inces.”

The other Je­suit prov­ince, Je­suits West, on Fri­day re­leased a sig­nif­i­cantly longer list of ac­cused priests and brothers, but it con­tained no men­tion of San An­to­nio ties.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.