March 25, 2005

Diocese chastised over ex-priest's file

The Press-Enterprise

11:26 PM PST on Thursday, March 24, 2005

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

A national self-help group for clergy-abuse victims Thursday urged the Diocese of San Bernardino to drop its efforts to reclaim the personnel file of a defrocked Inland priest, seized by Riverside County prosecutors shortly before the cleric was charged with molesting two boys.

In a strongly worded letter, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests also urged Bishop Gerald Barnes to contact bishops in Mexico to warn their parishes that the fugitive priest, Jesus Armando Dominguez, may be in their midst. Dominguez, 56, is believed to have fled to Mexico, authorities have said.

In January, Riverside County prosecutors and sheriff's deputies served a search warrant at the diocese's headquarters in San Bernardino and seized Dominguez's file. The file remains sealed before a Riverside County judge who will decide later this year whether prosecutors should be allowed to examine the records.

The diocese later filed court papers seeking the file's return and arguing that the search violated federal and state constitutional standards. The diocese has said it does not object to the release of some of the documents, but that other paperwork in the file related to Dominguez's removal from the priesthood or medical records should remain confidential.

Posted by kshaw at March 25, 2005 07:10 AM