San Diego

Diocese of San Diego Releases Names of 8 Priests with Credible Abuse Allegations

The addition of the names brings the total number of abusive priests connected to the diocese to 56.

The Catholic Diocese of San Diego released the names of eight priests who at one time worked in San Diego County and have credible reports of child abuse against them.

The eight names: The Reverends Jose Chavarin, Raymond Etienne, J. Patrick Foley, Michael French, Richard Houck, George Lally and Paolino Montagna, and Monsignor Mark Medaer.

The cases against them date as far back as the 60s and 70s, and not all of the alleged abuse incidents happened in San Diego, the diocese said. Five of the eight priests are now dead and the diocese was only able to provide photographs of three.

The addition of the names brings the total number of abusive priests connected to the diocese to 56. The previous 48 were identified after a 2007 settlement in which the diocese paid out almost $200 million to victims.

“It's entirely possible as we go through 50 and 60-year-old records that we will find new people,” The diocese’s Kevin Eckery said.

Eckery said the church is experiencing a lot of pain and parishioners want to know that they can trust their bishops and priests.

Eckery said releasing the names “Is part of holding ourselves and this diocese accountable."

Attorney Devin Storey helped represent dozens of victims in the 2007 settlement and says the list is still incomplete because there are priests who have been credibly accused but still not identified. He wonders why there can’t be complete transparency when it comes to identifying all of the accused priests.

“I think that when you come forward and you identify these people that have been accused, the accusers, other people that were abused by them, they get some vindication knowing, ‘Hey, this is true, this happened to me, people believe it now.’”

A diocese spokesperson said there have not been any reports of abuse at the Diocese of San Diego since the early 2000s.

The release of the names comes weeks after a grand jury report implicated hundreds of Catholic clergy members in six Pennsylvania diocese in the sexual abuse of thousands of children over several decades.

You can read the entire grand jury report here.

Included in that report is Father Ernest Paone, who volunteered at at least two San Diego County parishes while on loan from the Pittsburgh Diocese from the 60s to the 90s.

According to page 218 of the 1,356-page report, on May 1, 1962, a fellow priest at a Pennsylvania parish "interceded to prevent Paone from being arrested for 'molesting young boys of the parish and the illegal use of guns with even younger parishioners.'"

The report also stated "There is no indication that the [Pittsburgh] Diocese provided any interested parties information that Paone had sexually abused children or that the Diocese had played a role in preventing his prosecution for that conduct."

Records also show Paone worked as a junior high teacher for two decades in at Potter Junior High School in Fallbrook.

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