3 California Priests Credibly Accused of Sexual Misconduct With Minors on First List Released by Franciscans

An Oakland-based Catholic order has released a list of priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors for the first time. (RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

An Oakland-based Catholic order for the first time on Friday released its own list of clergy with credible accusations of child sex abuse.

The Franciscans of the Province of St. Barbara's list contains 50 names involving 122 victims. Some of the accused have been previously reported by advocates or are included in court documents, but at least one has never been reported.

The majority of the abuse occurred between the 1960s and 1980s. Father David Gaa, the order's leader, said of the 50 names on the list, 27 men have died and 19 have left the Franciscans. Some of those may have died, but Gaa says he does not track brothers who leave the order.

Of the four living credibly accused priests, three are living in California, including Dennis Duffy, whose abuse Gaa says has never been reported until now. Gaa says Duffy, Stephen Kain and Josef Prochnow are living in an elder care facility in California. Gerald Chumik is in a similar facility in Missouri.

Gaa says the accused priests are subject to a "safety plan" or restrictions administered by the Franciscans. Gaa says the safety plans are developed by the Province Review Board in collaboration with his office and may include restrictions on technology and travel, access by visitors and more. Each accused priest is assigned a designated supervisor within the Franciscan Order.

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Gaa says as heinous as the crime of sexual abuse of a minor is, the four accused brothers “are still human beings” and that the Franciscan Order is committed to caring for them. Regarding the victims, he says he is “aware that lost innocence can never be regained.”

“A lot of this abuse happened before I was a friar," Gaa says. "It’s very sad and very depressing.”

The Franciscan Friars of the Province of Saint Barbara operate in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington state. There are 136 brothers total in this province.

The order's website encourages anyone wishing to report allegations of sexual misconduct by a friar should contact the Victims Assistance Coordinator and local police or sheriff’s departments.

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