Father Gary Underwood
Diocese of Tucson
Assigned as follows:
- 1982-1988 St. Odilia’s (Tucson, AZ)
- 1980-1983 Our Mother of Sorrows (Tucson, AZ)
- 1986-1987 St. Anthony’s (Casa Grande, AZ)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Gary Underwood:
According to media reports, in November 2006, Father Gary Underwood was indicted on eight counts of molesting two boys under the age of 15 in 1983 and 1984. At the time, he was serving at St. Odilia’s Catholic Church. Father Underwood was suspended from the priesthood.
One victim stated, “He’d show us (the man and his friend) his erection. I stayed away as much as I could, but he was a master predator. He’d built up this bond with my mother, so everything he said was golden…My mother would say ‘he knows best,’ stay at the rectory.”
The man said he slept on a pullout couch at the rectory. One night he woke up and Underwood was sitting on the end of his bed naked and smoking.
“He wanted me to come in and sleep on the water bed with him. He said he needed me,” said the man.
He also described getting a letter from Father Underwood.
“It stated ‘I’m attracted to you, I need you, want you, love you.’
He was working as an Air Force chaplain in Louisiana when.
In May 2007, he was indicted again on charges of abusing another boy under the age of 15. Father Underwood sexually abused him at least 20 times over a four year period in 1985-1986.
“This was a horrible thing,” the father of the victim said. “Here’s this Father at a church, hiding behind his robes, assaulting children. I’ve got a son in prison who has never gotten over this.” His son turned to crack cocaine because of Father Underwood and has tried to commit suicide three times, his father said.
A year later in May 2008, he pleaded guilty to the abuse of of three minors. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and lifetime probation. In July 2009, the court had to reduce his probation to 3 years. The attorneys who worked out Father Underwood’s plea agreement realized there was no such thing as lifetime probation back when he committed his crimes.
His name did not appear publicly on the Diocese of Tucson’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.
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