Offices of the Diocese of San Diego
Offices of the Diocese of San Diego. Courtesy of the diocese

The Diocese of San Diego added eight priests to the list of those believed to have molested children as part of a clerical sexual abuse scandal involving the Roman Catholic Church, it was reported Friday.

The new names — the Revs. Jose Chavarin, Raymond Etienne, J. Patrick Foley, Michael French, Richard Houck, George Lally and Paolino Montagna, plus Monsignor Mark Medaer — were released in piecemeal fashion, with critical details missing, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The list extends the roster of predator priests established by a legal case that was concluded 11 years ago.

On Sept. 7, 2007, the diocese settled 144 claims of child sexual abuse by 48 priests and one lay employee, the Union-Tribune reported. The payments totaled $198.1 million, the second-largest settlement by a Catholic diocese in the United States.

“This is a response to the terrible moment we are in,” Bishop Robert McElroy told the newspaper, citing a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report that found 1,000 children had been molested by Pittsburgh area priests there, and the resignation of Theodore McCarrick, who is accused of sexually assaulting altar boys, seminarians and priests.

“There is a broad call for transparency,” McElroy told the newspaper. “When we looked at it, we wanted to meet that as best we could.”

The newly listed priests were accused of abuse since the 2007 settlement or reported to the diocese earlier in files that had been tucked away or mislaid, according to the Union-Tribune. They were overlooked until a recent review of records.

“They never kept good records on this stuff until recently,” McElroy told the newspaper. “They kept records, but not in a very systematic way.”

McElroy will embark on a tour of eight public forums at parishes in San Diego County between Oct. 1 and Nov. 5. to address the scandal of clergy sexual abuse.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.