Skip to comments.Group asks Yakima bishop to suspend himself over hiring man sought in child porn case
Posted on 04/09/2008 12:12:14 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
Leaders of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Thursday the request, contained in a letter to Sevilla, was the first time the group has asked a bishop to suspend himself.
Sevilla apologized Tuesday for hiring Juan Jose Gonzalez Rios, 37, of Cowiche, in 2003 and for failing to inform pastors and other church employees about the child pornography probe. "It wasn't a good hire," the bishop said.
On Thursday, however, he said it would be impractical for him to go on leave because of his responsibilities to the Central Washington diocese.
"I would like to thank SNAP for their concern for the healing of victims of sexual abuse and for the protection of children and youth, both of which are very important to me as well," Sevilla said in a news release. "I have already taken full responsibility for my serious error in judgment in hiring Mr. Gonzalez and the lack of proper follow-up."
The Rev. Robert M. Siler, diocesan chief of staff, said the bishop will soon express his regret about the matter to parishioners during Masses in Cowiche and Yakima, and the diocese is hiring a private investigator to interview young people who attended classes that Gonzalez taught.
The episode has been another black eye for the diocese, which has paid about $1.25 million to resolve sexual abuse claims involving seven priests.
Tune into our next episode of “Tainted Love” where we’ll learn that Gonzalez Rios had a boyfriend who was a prominent priest in the area. Embarrassed about getting busted with porn but ready to rag and use his “dirt card”, Gonzalez needs some TLC. Enter the intercessory call from the local bishop to the police station. The chief, who rolls his eyes at such things when he is sipping coffee with his friends, nevertheless is more a politician than a law enforcer, or at least that’s the way he prefers to view himself. He agrees not to pursue the poor perv as long as he gets out of town. Coming to aid the bishop is his friend, himself a bishop, surprise! He agrees to hire the down-and-out seminarian because a little cash heals big wounds, and it’s only homosexuality, right? But the dummy gets pulled over on a routine traffic stop two years later by a rookie cop who doesn’t understand “the understanding”.
Now everybody’s embarrassed, and so the bishop agrees to quell the shock by going on the apology tour because, after all, he can’t get fired.
Isn’t that how these things go?