Citing mounting child sex abuse civil cases, the Diocese of Gallup announced over the weekend that it will be filing bankruptcy. And it’s not going to be pretty.
Don’t know much about Gallup? Here’s a primer on the sex abuse and cover-up crisis in the Southwest diocese.
- The Diocese of Gallup “includes parishes in six counties in New Mexico, three counties in Arizona and seven Native American reservations.“
- At its peak, the Diocese of Gallup also included parishes in Flagstaff and central Arizona. Those parishes became a part of the Diocese of Phoenix in 1969. That means that the Diocese of Phoenix will probably be involved in some of the cases that will come forward.
- At least 13 child sex abuse cases are outstanding against the diocese, although it is estimated that there may have been dozens of secret settlements with other victims.
- Current Bishop James Wall and Fr. Alfred Tachias are scheduled to be deposed on September 18. The depositions are in the case of Fr. Clement Hageman, the infamous “Route 66” priest. Tachias was an assistant priest under Hageman. A bankruptcy filing will stop the deposition.
- The Fr. Clement Hageman clergy file, which can be viewed here, shows a man who repeatedly molested kids up and down the small towns of Route 66. Church officials knew he was molesting kids as far back as 1927. He came to Gallup in 1954 and allegedly molested children until his death in the 1970s. As one of the first and most complete files ever released out of Gallup, we can only guess that it is typical of the abuse and cover-up in the area.
- The diocese suspended its lay review board in 2011, in violation with the Charter for the Protection of Children an Young People. There is no indication that the group has been reinstated or had any influence on this decision.
- The Diocese of Gallup closed its 2012 fiscal year with a 4% budget surplus.
- According to the Gallup Independent: Through [Bishop James] Wall’s actions and inaction, it is clear he is neither a strong leader – spiritually or otherwise – and he has shown no moral courage. Instead, he has failed to fulfill a long line of broken promises.
- Bishop Wall just returned from vacation in Spain. Gee, I hope he had fun.