Just Because Church Officials Disbelieve Victims of Sex Abuse, Doesn’t Mean We Will

| Apr 20, 2022 | Catholic Church

We at Horowitz Law care about all survivors. But we feel especially sympathetic toward – and worried about – survivors who summoned the strength to come forward but were rebuffed by the very church officials who encouraged them to come forward to report their abuse.

It must be terribly upsetting: to do the hard, responsible, moral thing by reporting a heinous crime only to be told by church officials, “Sorry, we’re not going to do anything. There’s no evidence.” But guess what? Not believing you is abuse as well. They are committing the sin of silence. Just because church officials disbelieve victims, doesn’t mean we will.  When it comes to kids’ safety, we prefer to be on the side of caution.

And if you summoned the strength to report your abuse to church officials, only to be told that your report is “unsubstantiated” or “without merit” or “not credible,” our hearts ache for you, and we’d love to try and help you. We thank you for taking courageous action, even if the outcome was hurtful! Again, just because church officials disbelieve victims, doesn’t mean we will.

We’ve compiled an incomplete list of priests who have been accused of abuse, sometimes suspended, but then put back on the job (or exonerated) by a bishop or church body. It is, of course, possible that some of these clerics are wrongly accused. But it’s also possible, even more likely, that some of these alleged predators are in fact predators. Still, their church colleagues or superiors have opted to believe their denials rather than their accusers’ reports.


  • Fr. Francis Arakal of Stockton
  • Fr. J. Patrick Foley of Sacramento
  • Fr. James Michael Ford of Los Angeles
  • Fr. Michael Eugene Kelly of Stockton
  • Fr. Editho Mascardo of Stockton
  • Fr. John H. Wadeson of Los Angeles
  • Fr. Christopher Berbena of Los Angeles


  • Fr. Gabriel Zeis of Trenton
  • Fr. Kevin A. Gugliotta of Newark


  • Fr. John Milanese of Burlington


  • Fr. Melvin F. Thompson of Denver
  • Fr. Joseph A. Reade of Pueblo


  • Fr. Antonin R. Caron of Portland


  • Fr. Luis E. Henao of New Orleans

So if you know current or former Catholics, especially in California, New Jersey, Vermont, Colorado, or Maine, we hope you’ll circulate this list. If there are others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered sexual abuse, misconduct, or harassment by one of these priests, we’d love to hear from them.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing survivors of sexual abuse who were victims of sexual abuse by a priest, minister, rabbi, deacon, nuns, or other clergies. We have handled multiple cases of sexual abuse by clergy. If you or someone you know was a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault at a church or other religious organization, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.