March 16, 2005

Group asks bishop to reprimand priest

The Press-Enterprise

10:52 PM PST on Tuesday, March 15, 2005

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

A national self-help group for victims of clergy sexual abuse is demanding Bishop Gerald R. Barnes reprimand and publicly condemn an Inland priest for filing a slander lawsuit against a man who claims the cleric molested him two decades ago.

In a letter faxed Tuesday to the Diocese of San Bernardino, Jaime Romo and Mary Grant of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, described the slander lawsuit filed last month by the Rev. Michael Bucaro as "vicious and un-Christian legal hardball tactics."

"This litigation, we believe, is intimidating and vengeful," the letter states. "It also directly contradicts what you and so many church leaders have repeatedly stressed: that you want victims to come forward and disclose their abuse. These hostile acts will scare victims into continued shame, self-blame and silence."

Bucaro's attorney, Lori Hershorin, argued that the clergyman has the right to defend himself against the damaging accusations, which he vehemently denies.

"SNAP has been misguided and misinformed about Father Bucaro," Hershorin said. "Father Bucaro's reputation has been tarnished by these false allegations, and he wants to clear his name. How else can he do that unless he fights back?"

Posted by kshaw at March 16, 2005 05:43 AM