Six U.S. Prelates in Need of Laicization

As a sex abuse victims’ advocate, I am often contacted by priests or former seminarians who are unjustly disciplined by bishops, rectors, vocation directors, or pastors for reporting clerical sexual predation or homosexual misconduct. In ​most cases, the ​victims or whistleblower​s ​are heterosexually oriented clerics and seminarians​, while ​the predators,  bishops, and superiors are often closeted homosexual​s.

On May 9, 2019, Pope Francis promulgated Vos Estis Lux Mundi, a procedural policy aimed at investigating allegations of abuse or administrative cover-ups by Church leaders. In March 2023, the Pope revised the policy and expanded the norms to include “vulnerable adults” such as seminarians.  Insofar as Vos Estis essentially involves bishops investigating other bishops, most abuse victims and whistleblowers, along with sex abuse victims’ advocates, have come to view Vos Estis as a totally ineffective, fraudulent procedure. One assessment of its implementation is that “Too few bishops have been found guilty, they’ve been punished too lightly, and next to no information about their misdeeds has been disclosed.”

Even though one abuse victim opined that reporting corrupt bishops to Pope Francis or Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández is like complaining to Adolf Hitler or Heinrich Himmler that the SS (Schutzstaffel) took one’s family off to a concentration camp, I will still identify six prelates whom I have found to have covered up abuse and whom I believe should be laicized. If I were to submit a Vos Estis complaint regarding these prelates together with an abundance of evidence, I am sure I would receive a response from a Metropolitan Bishop stating, “the allegations you reported were thoroughly investigated and were found to be ‘unsubstantiated’.” This is the same response Pope Francis provided the Brazilian journalist, Ilze Scamparini,  who inquired about his close friend, Monsignor Battista Ricca, who was accused of having a Swiss live-in boyfriend in Uruguay; of getting caught with a gay prostitute on an elevator; and of being beaten up in a gay “cruising ground.”

CARDINAL WILTON GREGORY

The first prelate whom I believe is guilty of Vos Estis violations is Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory.  My research reveals that Gregory covered up allegations of sexual predation and homosexual misconduct that were reported to him by Father Michael Briese involving two of his priests, Fathers Adam Park and Carter Griffin. Just as then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick refused to grant Dominican Father Thomas Doyle faculties in the Washington Archdiocese for testifying in sex abuse trials that were costing U.S. dioceses billions of dollars, so too did Cardinal Gregory remove the faculties of Father Briese who not only accused him of covering up for Fathers Park and Griffin, but who also asked him to respond to allegations that he engaged in homosexual misconduct with other African American men when he was the Archbishop of Atlanta. Gregory was reported to have been given the nickname, “African Queen,” by homosexuals while also being identified as a homosexual by the late sex abuse expert, Richard Sipe.  Park and Griffin are not the only alleged predator priests Gregory has been accused of protecting. Monsignor Walter Rossi and Father Juan Fernando Arieza are two of the more notable alleged homosexual clerics whose behavior Gregory was accused of covering up in Atlanta and Washington.

CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN

The second prelate whom I believe has escaped punishment for covering up sexual predation and homosexual misconduct is New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Just as former Polish seminarian, Kamil Jarzembowski, was dismissed for reporting sexual predation and cover-ups at St. Pius X Seminary in Vatican City, so too did Dolan get rid of former New York seminarian, Anthony Gorgia, who refused to remain silent after witnessing grooming and receiving reports of sexual predation at the Pontifical North American College (NAC) in Rome. While Jarzembowski alleged that his seminary rector, Msgr. Enrico Radice, covered up sexual predation by a fellow seminarian, Gabriele Martinelli; Gorgia and numerous other corroborating witnesses described how  Dolan and former NAC rector, Father Peter Harman, covered up alleged homosexual predation by the former NAC vice-rector, Father Adam Park.  After a Vatican Court dismissed the charges against Martinelli and Radice in 2021, intense media scrutiny in response to accusations by Jarzembowski of a cover up moved the Vatican to reverse the verdict and convict Martinelli in January 2024 of corrupting a minor. Similar accusations about Park by NAC seminarians that were echoed by Briese have yet to be reported in the mainstream media even though there is a plethora of evidence, including several sworn affidavits in New York Supreme Court, alleging a history of sexual misconduct by Park and a cover up by both Dolan and Harman. Radice may have covered up the homosexual misconduct alleged to have taken place at St. Pius X Seminary because of his own possible homosexual orientation, just as Harman covered up Park’s misconduct after he himself was accused of engaging in anal sex at an orgy with then-Springfield in Illinois Bishop George Lucas.  Dolan’s own sex abuse cover-ups are well documented to span decades throughout his appointments at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.; as rector of the NAC in Rome; as Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis; as Archbishop of Milwaukee, and as Archbishop of New York.

BISHOP NICHOLAS DIMARZIO

The third prelate whom I believe needs to be brought up on Vos Estis charges is retired Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. Recently, I received a credible, detailed report from a former seminarian who alleges being sexually assaulted by seminary superior Father George Sears at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston, New York.  In graphic and credible detail, the former seminarian alleges that Sears repeatedly sexually assaulted him by acts which reportedly included putting his hand inside the seminarian’s underwear and forcibly squeezing his privates.  According to the victim, Bishop DiMarzio covered up Sears’ abuse; had him forcibly evicted from the seminary; and defamed him in an attempt to discredit his well-supported accusations. In 2021, Sears was appointed to serve as the NY Archdiocese Director of Vocations by Cardinal Dolan and was later named pastor of Holy Name of Jesus-St. Gregory the Great Parish in Manhattan.

ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM LORI

The fourth prelate whom I believe deserves to be laicized is Baltimore Archbishop William Lori. In November 2019, the parents of former Baltimore seminarian, Karl Discher, reported that their son was sexually harassed by then-St. John Paul II vice-rector, Father Carter Griffin, as well as by then-Baltimore transitional deacon, Christopher Pinto.  Just like Gorgia and other NAC seminarians who were shown the door for reporting Park, so too was Discher coerced into leaving formation by Lori after he reported Griffin and Pinto for sexual harassment.  While Griffin was promoted and currently serves as the St. John Paul II Seminary rector, Pinto was never ordained a priest and was discontinued by the Baltimore Archdiocese. Discher is not the only former Baltimore seminarian whose alleged abuse was covered up by Lori. Wieslaw Walawender alleges being drugged and sodomized by the late Msgr. Edward Staub at their Severna Park rectory which was covered up by Cardinal William Keeler and Father William Simms as documented in a “Conciliation Agreement.”  Like Bishop DiMarzio who was accused by two men of abuse, Simms who was appointed by Keeler to investigate the assault reported by Walawender had two sex abuse lawsuits filed against him in 1988 before he covered up Walawender’s reported assault by Staub. Simms was later charged by multiple victims of sexual abuse in 1994, 1997, 2002, 2016, and 2021. When Lori and the Archdiocese were confronted by Walawender just as they were by the Dischers, Walawender was told that as a result of their review, “it was impossible to determine what events actually led to your dismissal.”  Lori and the Archdiocese not only refuse to compensate Walawender for the physical, psychological, and spiritual harm he endured, but they also have been attempting to get him to request laicization as he was ordained a deacon before archdiocesan officials learned he had shared his abuse experience with officials at the Polish Embassy.

ARCHBISHOP GEORGE LUCAS

 The fifth prelate whom I feel should be laicized for covering up abuse is Omaha Archbishop George Lucas. In addition to being accused of engaging in anal sex at an orgy in his Episcopal residence when he was the Bishop of Springfield in Illinois, Lucas was accused by Cynthia Yesko of covering up for Springfield Fathers Stanislaus Yunker and Louis Schlangen whom she reported for abusing her when she was 4-7 years old. After Lucas was transferred to Omaha in 2009, a woman brought forward allegations of being satanically sexually abused by a priest of the Omaha Archdiocese when she was between 9 and 11 years old. Lucas told the woman, just as he told Yesko, “we do not find the allegations you have made to be credible.” The fact that the victim’s allegations were never thoroughly investigated is demonstrated by the fact the “Archdiocesan Review Board” never attempted to identify or speak with a second victim who was identified to have also been abused by the same predator priest accused of inserting consecrated hosts into the vaginas of the little girls. The fact that the alleged predator is still engaged in ministry with children at Boys Town can help explain why so many officials wish to cover up these egregious allegations which could impact contributions to both the Archdiocese and Boys Town.

BISHOP STEVEN RAICA

The sixth and final bishop whom I believe merits laicization for covering up clerical sexual predation is Birmingham Bishop Steven Raica. As reported by the Birmingham Diocesan Watch, a 2007 Flint Police Department report shows that Raica, while a transitional deacon in the Diocese of Lansing, failed to report Father Vincent Anthony DeLorenzo to civil authorities for abusing an eight-year-old boy. The victim reported having had a rag put in his mouth by DeLorenzo who also held a letter opener to his left ear before sodomizing him. Similar incidents were reported to have occurred five or six more times from April through June of 1978. Even though a Vos Estis complaint filed against Bishop Raica by faithful Birmingham Catholics for his mishandling of an abuse case in the Gaylord Diocese was dismissed by Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron, this complaint involves Raica’s failure to report DeLorenzo who was accused of abusing no fewer than eight victims prior to his death in January 2024. Raica also is currently protecting Birmingham Father John McDonald who, as a formation director at  the North American College (NAC) in Rome, received and covered up reports of sexual predation and homosexual misconduct on the part of the rector, Father Peter Harman, and the vice-rector, Father Adam Park.

Most Catholics are uninformed of how Pope Francis covered up countless abuse cases and defended sexual predators like Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, Father Julio César Grassi, Father Marko Rupnick, and several others identified in Sex Abuse in the Church: Code of Silence. Bishops, however, are well aware of the pope’s history of abuse cover-ups and feel he will not punish them for something that he himself is guilty of doing. The fact that only seven out of over one hundred and fifty bishops credibly accused of abusing minors and vulnerable adults have been laicized helps to explain why Pope Francis is not enforcing systemically flawed Vos Estis procedures which many people hoped would discipline those who engage in or cover up the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

Gene Thomas Gomulka is a sexual abuse victims’ advocate, investigative reporter, and screenwriter. A former Navy (O6) Captain/Chaplain, seminary instructor, and diocesan respect life director, Gomulka was ordained a priest for the Altoona-Johnstown diocese and later made a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) by St. John Paul II. Follow Gene Gomulka on YouTube.

 

 

 

 

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