Diocese Taking Piecemeal Approach

Monterey Herald [Monterey CA]
April 18, 2003

The latest news from the Diocese of Monterey on its efforts to deal with clerical sexual abuse concerns is similar to previous dispatches: underwhelming.

In the current issue of the diocesan newsletter, Bishop Sylvester Ryan announced that former Carmel Police Chief John McGilvray will head the nine-member board that advises him on matters involving alleged sexual abuse. But Ryan wouldn't name names when it came to the other members, in deference, he said, to their privacy. The secrecy contrasts with the public announcements about similar panels by some other dioceses, as well as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

On another subject, Ryan said that he had asked for the resignation of Monsignor Charles Fatooh from his position as the second-highest administrator in the diocese. His action came after media questions about Fatooh's connections to a former Arizona priest suspended over pedophilia allegations. Fatooh arranged a consulting contract for the priest with the diocese and rented a condominium to him in Maryland. Ryan didn't get into some related questions parishioners have privately raised, though, like how much the Arizona priest was paid under the Fatooh-arranged deal.

The diocese deserves credit for some actions, including cooperation with area district attorneys looking into old abuse allegations, and a new emphasis on education about sexual abuse. But its continued tendency to share information incrementally or not at all is disconcerting.


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