Santa Rosa Bishop Says He Waited to Report Abuse

Marin Independent Journal
August 13, 2006

Santa Rosa - A Roman Catholic church official apologized Saturday for waiting several days to notify authorities about sexual abuse allegations against a priest, a delay that might have allowed the priest to flee to Mexico.

Bishop Daniel Walsh of the Santa Rosa diocese said in a statement to parishioners he put "caution" before "doing the right thing" in handling the allegations against priest Xavier Ochoa.

Church officials say Ochoa admitted April 28 to sexually abusing a 12-year-old altar boy, but the allegations were not reported to Child Protective Services until May 1, and Ochoa disappeared the next day.

"I made an error in judgment by waiting to report Rev. Ochoas admission,"

Walsh wrote in the statement, distributed at Saturday Mass throughout the diocese, which stretches from Santa Rosa to the Oregon border.

Ochoa, 68, was charged June 22 with 10 felony counts and one misdemeanor count of child sex abuse involving three alleged victims. A warrant was issued for his arrest.


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