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Father Andrew Burke
Diocese of Pueblo
Assigned as follows:
- 1969-1971: St. Joseph’s (Grand Junction, CO)
- 1972-1973: St. Pius X (Pueblo, CO)
- 1974-2004: Unknown
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Andrew Burke:
Father Andrew Burke served in the Diocese of Pueblo. According to media reports, in 2004, he was first accused of abusing an altar boy while he was assigned to St. Pius X in Pueblo. Subsequent allegations were made in the years that followed by more men who say they were sexually abused by Burke as children.
According to one victim, Burke would have the altar boy change into swimming trunks or strip down to his shorts, blindfold him, tie him with strips of cloth to pipes, tickle him and drip ice on him as part of regular hour-long human “endurance experiments.” The victim also said that Burke masturbated over him as he performed these “experiments.”
According to a copy of Burke’s December 1973 request to be released from the priesthood (laicized), he struggled with loneliness and a “psycho-sexual behavior disorder.”
Once he left the priesthood, Burke married and became a social-work director at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.
Upon the allegations being made public, Burke admitted the story the former altar boy told to an official of the Diocese of Pueblo was mostly accurate, except for a few details.
The Diocese said it was the first allegation that had ever been made against Burke.
In 2005, Burke committed suicide by shooting himself in his backyard in Pueblo, Colorado.
After his death, other victims came forward with claims of abuse as well as suits against the Diocese of Pueblo. Two were lawsuits were settled and the Pueblo Diocese paid an undisclosed amount of money to the victims.
In October 2019, the Colorado Attorney General released a detailed report of an investigation into the handling of child sexual abuse complaints by Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses. Investigators identified three documented complaints made to the Diocese of Pueblo about Burke. Among the documents reviewed by the investigators were personnel documents showing that the Bishop of Pueblo knew as early as 1968 that Burke showed “evidence of a psychosexual behavior disorder.” Documents from 1963 refer to “his problem” and “his imprudence,” which are code words often used in personnel files referencing sexual abuse allegations.
The investigators affirmatively concluded that the Pueblo Diocese “deliberately created a false impression for parishioners and the public” about its knowledge of the dangers posed by Burke throughout his ministry and as recently as 2004, when it claimed that it had no idea Burke sexually abused children before the first victim came forward.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Pueblo in Colorado. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Pueblo now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.