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Retired San Diego Monsignor Admits Abuse; Bishop Urges Any Other Victims To Come Forward

Aug 9, 2002 | AP

The Roman Catholic bishop of San Diego appealed Friday for any victims to come forward if they were abused by a retired monsignor who has allegedly admitted molesting three boys.

In a letter to be distributed to parishioners this weekend, Bishop Robert Brom said retired Monsignor Rudolph Galindo acknowledged that allegations of childhood abuse made recently by three men were true.

"I am concerned that there are others who may have been harmed by sexual misconduct on the part of Monsignor Galindo during his various assignments," Brom wrote.

The letter includes a phone number and post office box for any victims to contact church authorities.

Galindo, who retired in 1986, was living in a retirement home in Texas but has since been transferred to an undisclosed psychiatric facility for evaluation, said Bernadeane Carr, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of San Diego.

The victims have requested that no details about the abuse be disclosed publicly, Carr said. The information was given to the San Diego County district attorney, who is reviewing it, a spokeswoman said.

Carr said she did not know whether the diocese planned to offer the victims a financial settlement. In 1985, Galindo, former rector of the San Diego cathedral, denied molesting an altar boy but the diocese agreed to a dlrs 75,000 settlement with the child's family.

Because of health problems, Galindo had not been performing any priestly duties in San Antonio, Carr said. He will now be prohibited from pastoral work or identifying himself as a priest, in keeping with the zero-tolerance policy against abusive priests adopted in June by U.S. bishops, she added.

The diocese includes San Diego and Imperial counties, an area of nearly 1 million Catholics.

In other developments Friday:

Thirteen people added their names to a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Boston, bringing to 53 the number of plaintiffs who allege they were assaulted by the late Rev. Joseph Birmingham. The suit alleges that after parents raised concerns about Birmingham, church officials shuffled him from parish to parish.

The suit has become one of the largest in the abuse scandal involving the archdiocese. The case of former priest John J. Geoghan, which sparked the current crisis, has 86 plaintiffs.

Archdiocese spokesman Donna Morrissey did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday.

A commission reviewing the Diocese of Cleveland's policy on sex abuse wants any priest accused of abuse to be immediately removed from the ministry. Priests would be allowed to return only if they are exonerated after an investigation. The policy is stricter than the one endorsed by U.S. bishops.

The panel including attorneys, abuse victims, police officers and parents was established by Bishop Anthony Pilla, who said its suggestions will be considered before a final document is written.

In Kentucky, a state appeals court ruled that a lawsuit alleging the Diocese of Lexington didn't do enough to halt sexual abuse by priests can be made public. The suit was filed by four unidentified men and one woman.

The court said the church did not show there was a compelling public interest in keeping the suit secret. The diocese has seven days to appeal; the material will remain sealed until then. An attorney representing the diocese did not return a message left Friday.

A priest who had served in the Richmond, Virginia, diocese since 1963 has been forced to resign for sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy two decades ago, the diocese said.

The president of an association of Roman Catholic religious orders told his colleagues that American bishops have been "paralyzed in remorse" over sex abuse and have been scapegoating molester clergy to regain the public's trust.

The Rev. Canice Connors, president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, said demands from victims have led U.S. bishops to abandon the Catholic belief in redemption for sinners — even when they are abusive priests.

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