Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director
Once again, innocent children pay the price because Bishop Stephen Blaire refused to do a simple background check on one of his priests. What is even more tragic about this case is that the arrested priest abused in a parish that–not so long ago–was savaged by the crimes of Oliver O’Grady.
Unfortunately, the case of visiting priest Rev. Julio Guarin-Sosa is not unique. California’s bishops have a habit of accepting foreign priests with little to no investigation of their backgrounds. In Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony accepted two foreign priests–Fernando Lopez Lopez and Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera–with nothing more than a letter of recommendation from their bishops. Had Mahony done any investigation, he would have learned that Lopez Lopez had been convicted of “violent sexual abuse on a minor” in Italy. A few years earlier, Mahony was told that Aguilar Rivera had “homosexual problems” with youths, but accepted him anyway.
How many more of Stockton’s children will be sacrificed because of the lack of due diligence and care on the part of diocese officials? How many more children will be put at risk before Bishop Blaire adheres to his own promises of child protection and transparency?
No one can predict abuse. But it’s easy to prevent. Apparently, Bishop Blaire doesn’t seem to think that child safety is worth the extra effort.