Fresno Catholic diocese ‘pondering’ whether to name local priests accused of sex crimes
Officials at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno — which covers 87 Valley parishes — on Friday said they are continuing to investigate what information they may release regarding area priests accused of sexual misconduct, including the possibility of publicly identifying those priests by name.
Back in October the diocese acknowledged three of its priests were being investigated due to complaints.
A Friday news release from the diocese said it’s continuing to “survey how other dioceses are responding to the demand for an online posting of all accused priests, past and present, in addition to coming to a better understanding of any legal ramifications if due process of law has not been pursued according to Constitutional Rights.”
“Bishop (Armando X.) Ochoa will continue to engage a variety of professional opinions on this matter, both within the faith community and outside sources to ensure objectivity,” the release continued.
“It is understood that this is a very sensitive matter. It is essential that criterion, content and accurate terminology are well established to ensure that any further actions achieve their intended goal — to heal, protect and restore trust.”
A diocese spokesperson in October said Father Jean-Michael Lastiri and Father Ricardo Magdaleno were placed on paid administrative leave on Sept. 13 and Sept. 28, respectively. The spokesperson also said Rev. Gaspar Bautista, has been on paid administrative leave since March 2016. The outcome of those cases has not been released.
Lastiri last worked at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Hanford, and previously worked at St. Patrick’s Church in Merced. The diocese spokesperson said the issue regarding Lastiri involved material found on his YouTube account.
Bautista was placed on leave after the diocese was alerted by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles about allegations Bautista was involved in inappropriate behavior with a minor.
Magdaleno was placed on administrative leave following a complaint, though the spokesperson didn’t elaborate.
On a similar note, on Friday the Jesuit West Province released a list of Sacramento area priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse since 1950.
In Southern California, advocates for survivors of child sex abuse compiled a list of 72 priests they say served in the Diocese of Orange and have been accused of abuse.