Retired San Diego bishop Robert Brom died yesterday. He was accused of homosexual predation as well as covering up clerical sex abuse.
Church Militant's Aidan O'Connor reveals Brom's scandalous past.
San Diego's current bishop, Robert McElroy, praised Brom in a press release, calling him "a pastor, teacher and servant leader."
But Brom is also remembered as a bishop who covered up for clerical sex abuse. Even worse, he is accused of being a "sexual predator," even a "rapist."
He was first appointed bishop of Duluth, Minnesota, in 1983, and from 1990–2013, he was bishop of San Diego.
But an accusation dating back to the mid-1980s came from a former seminarian of Immaculate Heart Seminary in Winona, Minnesota. He accused then-bishop Brom, priests in charge of the seminary and then-Chicago cardinal Joseph Bernardin of coercing him and other seminarians into sex.
Later, in the mid-1990s, after Brom had been appointed to San Diego, the victim retracted his accusation while being paid nearly $100,000 by the Duluth and Winona dioceses.
Then-Winona bishop John Vlazny admitted the payout hinged upon the victim renouncing his allegation.
Vlazny commented later that the payout was not an admission of Brom's guilt: "I viewed this [settlement] not as a matter of justice but as a matter of charity."
In 2006, the accusations tied to the Winona seminary followed Brom to San Diego. He and the diocese were being investigated for covering up sex abuse.
The investigation, however, inexplicably came to a halt when Brom declared bankruptcy for the diocese.
After reaching a nearly $200 million settlement involving clerical sex abuse, Brom tried to shake down San Diego's parishioners, asking: "I need your help to cover the expense we incurred recently through compassionate outreach to our brothers and sisters who suffered sexual abuse within the family of the Church."