News Event – January 3, 2016 – LA priest admits abuse, Archdiocese misleads parishioners


LA Archbishop Gomez: Misleading parishioners, breaking promises of transparency
LA Archbishop Gomez: Misleading parishioners, breaking promises of transparency. 

NEWS EVENT: Victims to leaflet mass attendees

LA Priest admits he repeatedly abused a child 

But Catholic officials let him work in parishes

In 2014, they “quietly removed” him from LA church, misled parishioners about cause

And they insisted that incriminating documents be destroyed

Now, despite “zero tolerance” policy, he may be put back on the job 


As Catholics enter and leave mass, sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand out leaflets that show LA Catholic officials:

— quietly removed a priest in 2014 who admitted sexually abusing a child, and

— mislead parishioners about the priest’s crimes.

The fliers urge Catholics to demand that LA’s archbishop:

— reach out to families who were endangered and church-goers who were duped by LA Catholic officials, and

— publicly disclose everything they know about this sex abusing priest and all sex-offending clerics.


Sunday, January 3 at 10:30 am


Outside of the LA Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W Temple St (at Hill), Los Angeles


Five to six adults who were sexually abused as children who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, the nation’s largest support group for people who have been sexually abused in religious or institutional settings.


A new page one Chicago Tribune story reveals that a former Los Angeles priest admitted to sexually abusing a seven-year-old. Local church officials kept LA Catholics in the dark about allegations, and then allowed him to work in another parish.

Fr. Bruce Wellems acknowledges that when he was around 16, he repeatedly sexually assaulted a seven year old. Catholic church officials kept silent about Fr. Wellems’ admission for years and kept him on the job. Both actions, SNAP contends, violate an allegedly binding national abuse policy that mandates “zero tolerance” of abuse and “transparency” in abuse cases.

Until 2014, Fr. Wellems was a priest at the San Gabriel Mission. Then Los Angeles officials learned of the abuse reports. Although they sent him back to Chicago, LA Archbishop Jose Gomez and other church officials didn’t publicly disclose the allegations on their website, the parish website, or any other sources. They also misled parishioners, claiming that Fr. Wellems had not abused a child but faced allegations from a “consensual dating relationship.”

In a bizarre twist, when SNAP disclosed Fr. Wellems’ past, the priest blasted SNAP, saying that the group had no factual basis for the allegations. He claimed the group was hurting parishioners by exposing his crimes.

According to the new Chicago Tribune article, Fr.  Wellems lured the child away from basketball games, snuck him into his home, and molested him on numerous occasions.

Members of SNAP believe that this lack of transparency and cover-up may be only the tip of the iceberg. They also fear that since Fr. Wellems covered up his past, there may be more victims who are suffering in shame and silence.

“If LA archdiocesan staff are misleading parishioners about Fr. Wellems’ past, what else are they covering up?” said Joelle Casteix, SNAP Western Regional Director. “Gomez has promised transparency, but we know that’s not the case. It’s clear that the supposed ‘changes’ in the church are nothing but lip service.”

SNAP is also upset that Chicago church officials think it’s okay for Wellems to still act as a priest. In August, Fr. Wellems moved up in the church hierarchy when he was elected to the Claretians’ new five-person national Provincial Council, a position he still apparently holds.

“You wouldn’t invite Josh Duggar to babysit your child. Why should we give Wellems—who criticizes people who expose him and who admits to covering up his abusive past—the benefit of the doubt? Catholic church officials in LA and Chicago should be ashamed and embarrassed. And parents everywhere should be on notice,” Casteix said.



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