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As the USCCB convenes its Fall General Assembly this week, a former major seminary formator writes an open letter to the U.S. bishops, exposing their failure to confront a critical crisis: rising sexual predation in U.S. seminaries.
The letter links the bishops' cover-up of homosexual misconduct in seminaries with a more insidious cover-up of homosexuality among the conference's members. With new testimonies outing predation at the USCCB-supervised Pontifical North American College (NAC) in Rome, the letter predicts that the U.S. bishops should expect many more victimized seminarians to bring suit in U.S. courts as a result of the bishops' failure to protect them.
Anyone wishing to support the legal efforts to safeguard seminarians, who are clearly not a priority at the USCCB's assembly, may contribute to the "Save Our Seminarians Fund" here.
Gene Thomas Gomulka
356 H Ave.
Coronado, CA 92118
Nov. 13, 2021
When one looks at the agenda of your Nov. 15–18, 2021, USCCB Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, one cannot help but notice that you will not be addressing the growing crisis of predatory homosexual cultures in seminaries and dioceses —a crisis that has caused a major decline in new vocations and the closure of thousands of parishes (with an average rate of over 100 per year).
Just as the USCCB sidelined Fr. Paul Sullins' November 2018 clergy sex abuse report correlating predatory homosexual Catholic clergy to the abuse of minors, so too are the U.S. ordinaries, the Apostolic Nunciature and Knights of Columbus leadership burying the findings of an 18-month independent investigation documenting these disturbing trends in seminaries. Catholics are led to believe that the USCCB's omission stems from the abundance of homosexual bishops and priests in its own ranks, including the disgraced Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill, who was charged with heading the USCCB "response" to sex abuse scandals.
This year, the seminary abuse-crisis "hit home" for the USCCB, owing to the fact that the conference oversees the scandal-plagued Pontifical North American College in Rome. After USCCB leaders, U.S. bishops and the Vatican concealed allegations of sexual predation and retaliation at the North American College, as well as massive cover-up by Cdl. Timothy Dolan and the NAC board of governors, a massive lawsuit was filed, which has led to the removal of the vice rector, Fr. Adam Park, and the impending removal of the rector, Fr. Peter Harman.
The allegations are substantiated by compelling sworn statements of victims and witnesses and were deemed credible by a highly credentialed former "special agent in charge" of the FBI, who upended deceptive tactics used in U.S. dioceses (such as the diocese of Springfield, Illinois) to cover up sexual misconduct by priests and even ordinaries. Interestingly, these allegations come in the wake of reports that enrollment at the NAC is said to be approximately half, today, of what it was in 2016, when Harman became the rector.
Recent events show that the lawsuit against Dolan and the NAC has already opened the floodgates for abused seminarians across the country to come forward and expose corruption in their seminaries. Just days after the legal complaint filings against Cdl. Dolan and NAC officials, a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit was filed against the archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cdl. Roger Mahony and the diocese of Tucson; alleging sexual assault, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional/negligent misrepresentation, negligent supervision/retention, endangerment, and assault and battery.
The rector of St. John's in Camarillo, Fr. Marco Durazo, has been accused of being a "homosexual predator that has had several sexual relationships with seminarians." Notably, one of Durazo's alleged boyfriends, Fr. Gerson Espinosa Velasco, is said to have "raped one or more seminarians." The rector of St. John Paul II Seminary, Fr. Carter Griffin, was accused of sexually harassing and reprising against a Baltimore seminarian — an incident which has remained uninvestigated by the Vatican, Cdl. Wilton Gregory and Abp. William Lori.
One of three former St. Mary seminarians who reported sexual harassment by Cleveland priest James Cosgrove said the response on the part of Cleveland diocesan officials was "a farce." It comes as no surprise that the ordinaries of the dioceses in which these seminaries are located all appear to be covering up complaints from heterosexual seminarians who chose to escape from what one investigator referred to as "a cesspool of corruption and homosexual predation." These allegations are just the tip of the iceberg, with homosexual misconduct and retaliation against victims reported to have taken place in over 40 seminaries and dioceses.
Should the USCCB continue to abet and cover up sexual misconduct in seminaries, bishops should not be surprised to see even more lawsuits brought forward by abused seminarians who had no hopes of justice or safety in the Church.
Gene Thomas Gomulka