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Diocese of San Bernardino

If you know someone who was abused by a priest in the Diocese of San Bernardino or elsewhere, we can help. Learn more when you contact us today.

List of Accused Priests in the Diocese of San Bernardino

Across the world, there are still headlines about priest sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and many of those priests who were accused came from the state of California. In fact, there were priests accused in the Diocese of San Bernardino.

Priest Sex Abuse Scandal

Not all those who were accused in the priest sex abuse scandal, though, had cases that were investigated. Often survivors of sexual abuse wait until they’re adults to come forward, and sometimes that means their cases aren’t investigated because of the statute of limitations involved.

Some of the priests in the Diocese of San Bernardino deny their involvement because there were so few investigations. The simple reality, though, is that they were accused by at least one survivor, and that’s why their names appear on the list below.

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Father Saul Ayala

  • Ordained: 1971
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

In 6/02 an allegation of "sexual harassment and misconduct involving a minor" was filed with the church by a woman. Placed on leave. In 9/02 two sisters filed suit alleging Ayala abused them in 1988 and 1989 when they were ages 7 and 9, and he baby-sat them. Diocese settled with them for $30,000 in 2004. Moved to Mexico shortly after he was placed on leave; possibly in active ministry there. On San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18.

Father Edward Lawrence Ball

  • Ordained: 1966
  • Status: Convicted
  • D/O: Sacred Heart

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Indicted 9/92 on 4 counts of abuse of a minor; pled guilty to 1 count. Sentenced to 9 months jail and 5 years probation.Three victims. Family of two boys settled out of court 1994. Ball criminally charged in 1999 with 31 counts of sexually abusing two other boys 1979-1986. Sentenced to 3 years in prison. Settlement of $4.2M from Diocese & Order in 6/03. On Sex Offender Registry. On San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18. Deceased.

Father Roberto Barco

  • Ordained: 1983
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

From Argentina, Diocese of Chascomus. Assigned to San Salvador parish in Colton, CA 2009 and St. Louis parish in Cathedral City, CA 2011-2014. Included on San Bernardino diocese list 10/9/18. Accused in 4/16 of child sex abuse in 2009-10. Police report filed. Was working in Los Angeles archdiocese at time of report. Removed in 5/16. Returned to Argentina. On Los Angeles archdiocese's list updated 12/6/18.

Father Joseph Bell

  • Ordained: 1961
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Benedictine

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

First named publicly as accused on the San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18. Assigned to St. Peter and St. Paul in Alta Loma 1985-86. Died in 1/87. Per diocese, it was first aware in 1985 of allegations in the 1960s-70s. Abuse reportedly occurred in IN, KY and NY.

Father Gustavo Benson

  • Ordained: 1972
  • Status: Convicted
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Arrested in San Bernardino for abuse of two boys in 1/87. Pled no contest 1/87 regarding one; given three years' probation and treatment in NM. Per 6/02 article, moved to Mexico and was assigned to a diocese there. CA Bishop told Tijuana Bishop of Benson's history and that he should never have access to adolescents. Two filed civil suit 12/03. Listed on 3/07 list released by San Diego Diocese. Personnel file released 10/10. He was at the time an active priest in Ensenada, Mexico. On San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18.

Father Michael Bucaro

  • Ordained: 1980
  • Status: Settled
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Man sued in 2004 alleging he was abused by Bucaro at St. Matthew's Church in Corona and in San Diego in the 1980s. Suit names both dioceses, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and his former Order, the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. San Bernardino denied any record of past complaint of any kind. Bucaro had been working in prison ministry since 1983. He countersued for slander in 2005. Original suit settled in 2008. On San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18.

Father Alejandro Jose/Alex Castillo

  • Ordained: 1981
  • Status: Convicted
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Removed from Our Lady of Guadalupe in Ontario CA 6/10 after allegations he abused two brothers within previous 2 years. Review board found allegations credible 9/10. Subject of prior complaint involving 2 adults and 1 youth, but no arrests due to SOL. Arrested 10/25/10. Pled guilty 4/11 to lewd act with a minor. Sentenced 8/31/11 to 1 year jail and sex offender registration. Released 4/21/12; re-arrested 5/9/12 for probation violation; released. Two lawsuits filed 9/22/11 settled 2/14 for $3.8M. Third suit filed 2012. On San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18.

Father Peter Covas

  • Ordained: 1957
  • Status: Sued
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Covas retired from parish 4/02 amid accusations of sexual misconduct with minors. Resigned in 1983 as 1st financial director of Diocese after he loaned $225K of diocesan money to man who had been convicted of fraud. Sexual accusations came to light after internal diocesan review of files. Civil suits filed 2003. Arrested twice (1987 and 1988) for public sexual misconduct. Died 5/9/04. Personnel file released 10/25/10.

Father Owen da Silva

  • Ordained: < 1936
  • Status: Sued
  • D/O: Franciscan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

A man filed a 2004 amended pleading in his civil suit against Fr. Matthew Kelly alleging that at least 31 clergymen abused youths in Santa Barbara, CA and at St. Anthony's Seminary. Pleadings name da Silva as the first Santa Barbara perpetrator of child sexual assault and says that he abused an altar boy in 1936-37 at the seminary. The source cited is a statement by the alleged victim. Fr. da Silva Died in 1967. Reportedly, most of the priests mentioned in the article are Franciscans. On the Santa Barbara Province Franciscans list 5/31/19. On the Las Cruces diocese's list 6/24/19, where he worked 1957-64.

Father Daniel De Dominicis

  • Ordained: < 1951
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: C.S.Sp. (Spiritan)

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

First named publicly as accused on the Diocese of San Bernardino's list 10/9/18. Order and diocese learned of allegations 8/94, which allegedly occurred 1975-85. Assigned to Notre Dame High 1958-68, Our Lady of the Valley in Hemet 1976-78. Left the San Bernardino diocese in 1978. Deceased.

Father Jesus Dominguez

  • Ordained: 1983
  • Status: Convicted
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Name appears on list of accused priests and religious released by the Los Angeles Archdiocese 2/17/04. List reflects 6 accusers and 1973-1988 as time of incidents. Worked in San Bernardino diocese 1978-1993. Placed on leave. Pled no contest in 2001 to misdemeanor child molestation. Laicized in 2000. Charged in 2005 with abusing 2 boys in 1988-1989. Fled to Mexico before he could be arrested. Six men filed civil suits. On San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18. It shows diocese aware in 1988 of abuse occurring 1983 and 1988.

Father Robert J. Donat

  • Ordained: 1966
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Donat worked in San Diego Diocese from 1966-69. From 1969-1993 he taught at Aquinas High School in San Bernardino. After leaving Aquinas, he was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Montclair until 2006. He has lived in Los Angeles since 2006. Diocese first learned in 12/10 that Donat allegedly abused a student at Aquinas in 1973. At least 4-5 other accusers have contacted attorneys re abuse. Privileges were removed 8/11 after review board found allegations credible. Sentenced by Vatican to Prayer and Penance. On diocese's list 10/9/18.

Kevin Dunne

  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Franciscan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

One of several religious accused in 1993 of abuse of students at St. Anthony Seminary. Per 2002 article, he was living with Order at St. Mary's Basilica in Phoenix, serving as their treasurer, doing housework and without contact with children. As of 2007, he was living in a retreat house near Monterey CA, in failing health and with dementia. (See additional information in two petitions filed Fall 2009.) On Santa Rosa diocese's list 1/12/19. It notes accusations in 2002 for abuse elsewhere in 1993. Died in 2010. On the Santa Barbara Province Franciscans list 5/31/19. It notes a report in 1993 of alleged sexual abuse of a minor 1970-73. On the Las Cruces diocese's list 6/24/19 (misspelled Dunn), where he worked 1955-61.

Brother Clifton Raymond Etienne

  • Ordained: 1979
  • Status: Sued
  • D/O: Divine Word Missionaries

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Civil suit alleged abuse by Etienne at Divine Word Seminary in Riverside when he was a religious brother. He was ordained in 1979 and later served at St. Patrick parish and St. Anthony's parish in Oakland Diocese. Died May, 1998. Personnel file released10/25/10. On San Diego diocese's 9/18 list.

Father Joseph (Joe) Fertal

  • Ordained: 1959
  • Status: Settled
  • D/O: Society of the Divine Word

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Left Philippines in 1989 under cloud of suspicion re abuse. In 1995 Fertal was accused of molesting a 16-year-old boy from a catechism class. Civil suit filed in 1996; later settled out of court. Criminal investigation dropped for lack of evidence. Forced by church officials to leave a California retirement home in 2002 after it learned of his past history. In treatment several times. Added to Scranton diocese's list in 12/18. Living in Chicago at the time.

Father Anthony Martinez Garduno

  • Ordained: 1990
  • Status: Convicted
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Accusations that Garduno asked an adult man to strip during premarital counseling surfaced in about 1993. Sent for treatment. Church trial for heresy after Garduno founded a separate Catholic sect in 1996. He was "removed from the clerical state." Arrested 12/09 and charged with abuse of a 17-year-old boy 4 years before and continued sale of drugs from the church. Accuser said he knew of other minor victims who had been abused at that location. Sentenced 3/10 to 2 years prison on drug and gun charges.

Father Rudi Gil

  • Ordained: 1978
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Order of the Holy Trinity

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Gil went to San Bernardino diocese from Canada in 1987. Accused in 1993 of sexual misconduct with a minor boy in 1987. Treated at Retreat in California (run by Servants of Paraclete) for "sexual identity issues;" admitted during counseling that he had sexually abused a child. Left after about two weeks because treatment was ineffective. No criminal charges. Still performing ministry in 2002 even though privileges were removed in 1993. On San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18. It noted that police were informed in 2002, and that Gil was removed from the priesthood.

Father Maximiliano Gomez Macouzet

  • Ordained: 1946
  • Status: Sued
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Native of Mexico. Ordained for San Diego in 1946. Graduate studies in Rome 1948-1951. Began working in San Bernardino diocese in 8/53. Left diocese in 1966 and was incardinated in Diocese of Tlalnepantla, Mexico 6/67. One civil suit filed 1966 alleged assault & battery of 17 yr old boy in 1962. $35K judgment 6/68. Name appears on list of priests w/ credible allegations released by San Diego Diocese 3/07. Personnel file released 10/25.10 by San Diego.

Father Ernest J. Hayes

  • Ordained: 1961
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

First named publicly as accused on the diocese's list 10/9/18. It notes diocese aware in 6/87 of alleged abuse 1978-83, 1981 and 1987. Hayes died in 1990.

Father Joseph Jablonski

  • Ordained: 1976
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

First named publicly as accused on the San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18. Abuse allegedly occurred in 2014. Reported to diocese and police in 5/14. Per diocese, Jablonski was visiting and did not have faculties there.

Dennis Raymond Jost

  • Status: Convicted
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Raised in San Angelo TX Diocese. Spent years in CA training to be deacon before being removed from program. Served as vol. coord. of altar boys. Named in 1992 suit re abuse of one boy. Arrested in 1992 on charges that in 1990 he took minor from CA to AZ & NM to abuse him. Convicted & sentenced 1993 to six months' jail and 2 years' probation. Worked in Dallas Diocese 1995-1997 until past uncovered. Personnel file released by San Diego Diocese 10/25/10 references prior conviction from 1970s.

Father Timothy F. Keppel

  • Ordained: 1977
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: C.R. Congregation of the Resurrection

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

On 1/12/13, the Order announced Keppel had been removed after it had received (in summer 2012) an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a teenage boy in the diocese in the late 1970s. The boy was not a member of either Our Lady of the Lake or St. Anne's in the Mountains where Keppel was assigned for many years. Diocese investigated and both diocese and order found reasonable cause to believe that the behavior did occur. Was to be referred to Vatican. On diocese's list 10/9/18. On Mobile archdiocese's list 12/6/18. It notes "misconduct" occurred 1977-81, doesn't say where. Worked at some point at Resurrection parish in Montgomery.

Father Robert Kurilec

  • Ordained: 1968
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Priests of the Sacred Heart S.C.J.

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

First named publicly as accused on the Diocese of San Bernardino's list 10/9/18. Abuse reportedly occurred in 1970 and 1972 in IN, IL and MD. Worked at Notre Dame High School in Riverside 1980-83. Became Navy chaplain in 1984. San Bernardino diocese aware of allegations in 1987. Reported to U.S. Navy in 1988 and to police in 2002. Sentenced by Vatican to Prayer and Penance.

Father Peter H. Luque

  • Ordained: 1962
  • Status: Sued
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Placed on leave 04/02 on old allegations of sexual abuse. Criminally charged in 04/03 with sexually assaulting two teenage boys in 1960s. Luque's name included on list of 20 priests turned over to police in April, 2002. Other accuser later came forward. Criminal charges dismissed 7/03 after US Supreme Ct. ruling. Civil suit filed 12/03. Name included in list released by San Diego diocese 3/07.

Father Peter McCormick

  • Ordained: 1970
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Servants of the Paraclete

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

First named publicly as accused on diocese's list 10/18. Assigned to Sacred Heart parish 1984-2000. Admitted to "sexual acts" with a juvenile while at Sacred Heart. Per diocesan records, McCormick abused a boy at a church near L.A. in 1990, starting when the boy was age 13 and into the boy's adulthood.The diocese received the allegations in 2000 and removed MCormick from ministry. Diocesan officials contacted law enforcement two years later.

Father Howard Melzer

  • Ordained: 1958
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Priests of the Sacred Heart S.C.J.

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

First named publicly as accused on the San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18. Diocese noted to have become aware of allegations 10/17/93 of abuse 1976-80. Reported to Order. Melzer was assigned during that time to St. Matthew's in Corona. Deceased.

Father Paul Nguyen

  • Ordained: 1980
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Ordained in Oslo, Norway. Vietnam native. To Rome 1989, then San Bernardino, CA. Resigned as parish pastor 09/93 after accused of sexual misconduct with minor in 01/93. Placed on leave. Police began an investigation, which was soon dropped. Went to Helsinki, Finland diocese. To Sweden 2003, worked with Vietnamese Mission. Returned to Norway 8/04, then to the U.S. in 2005, per bio on "Den katolske kirke" website. On San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18.

Father Joseph R. Nunez

  • Ordained: 1922
  • Status: Sued
  • D/O: Diocesan

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Ordained in Mexico. Moved to San Diego in 1926, returned to Mexico 1929-1932, but then returned to San Diego and incardinated there in 1937. Named in 12/03 suit where one man accused Nunez of molesting him at a San Bernardino Catholic School in 1956-1957. Man was 12 at the time. He told another priest but nothing done. to stop the abuse. Nunez died in 1968 after nearly 40 years as a priest. Personnel file released by Diocese of San Diego 10/25/10.

Father Louis G. Perreault

  • Ordained: 1962
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: C.S.Sp. (Spiritan)

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

First named as accused on the San Bernardino diocese's list 11/17/18. Per diocese, it was made aware in 9/11 of alleged abuse occurring 1990-92. Assigned to Our Lady of the Valley in Hemet 1986-95. Reported to police 9/11. Perrault was retired without faculties. On Lake Charles LA list 4/11/19 (spelled Perrault). Deceased.

Father Esteban Trujillo

  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Order of St. Augustine

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

Visiting priest from Mexico, in San Bernardino diocese beginning mid-2001. Removed by diocese 6/02. Order told the diocese in July 2002 that it had investigated and cleared Trujillo of an allegation of past sexual misconduct. Trujillo is believed to have returned to Mexico. On San Bernardino list 10/9/18. It notes Trujillo had no faculties or assignments there and that he had been residing in the area with his family. Abuse allegedly took place in Mexico 1998 and 2001.

Father Bernard Waltos

  • Ordained: 1974
  • Status: Accused
  • D/O: Franciscan OFM Conv

Sexual Abuse Allegations:

First named publicly as accused on the San Bernardino diocese's list 10/9/18. Assigned to Queen of Angels in Riverside 1981-91. Abused alleged to have occurred 1984-90. Waltos died 12/16/92. Per diocese, it was made aware of the allegations in 1994. Named in 1992 lawsuit by victim of convicted priest Dennis Jost.

DISCLAIMER: The individuals on this list have allegations of sexual abuse against them. Under U.S. law, an allegation, however, does not define guilt. Instead, a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty during legal proceedings, whether criminal or civil. These list entries do not imply the individual on the list is criminally guilty or legally liable for civil claims of damage caused by sexual abuse. Instead, it represents those who have been publicly accused of abuse.

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