Is Full Transparency that Hard When Creating a Diocesan List of Accused Predator Priests?

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2022 | Catholic Church

San Bernardino Diocese Horowitz Law


Last week, we discussed that a “good” way to evaluate bishops concerning abuse is to look closely at their ‘accused’ clerics lists. We started by examining the list in the Fresno Diocese. Now it’s time to dive into the San Bernardino Diocese.

Bishop Alberto Rojas, who hails from the Chicago Archdiocese, took the reins in San Bernardino in December 2019. His predecessors included Bishop Gerald Barnes, Bishop Phillip Straling, Bishop Dennis Patrick O’Neil, and Bishop Rutilio J. del Riego. Like other California prelates, San Bernardino’s bishop released an ‘accused’ list in September 2018 in the wake of the scandalous revelations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. To his credit, Bishop Rojas includes religious order clerics on his accused list, including Fr. Bernard Waltos OFM CONV., Fr. Carlos Rene Rodriguez CM, Fr. Joseph Fertal SVD, Fr. Howard Melzer SCJ, Fr. Timothy Keppel CR, Fr. Dominic Gaioni SVD, Fr. Peter McCormick SP, Fr. Robert Kurilec SCJ, Fr. Daniel DeDominicis CSSP, Fr. Terrence Reilly OP, Fr. Gregory Kareta OFM, Fr. Ponciano Ramos SVD, Fr. Esteban Trujillo OSA and Fr. Joseph Jablonski MSC.

Bishop Rojas also deserves credit for noting that at least a few San Bernardino predators also worked outside the diocese, including Fr. Roberto Barco (a native of Argentina who spent time in Los Angeles) and Fr. John Schmitz (who spent time in Iowa). And it’s positive that Bishop Rojas discloses that some San Bernardino predators were accused of hurting children elsewhere, including: 

  • Fr. James Stauber (who allegedly assaulted kids in Missouri)
  • Fr. Joseph C. Bell (who reportedly abused kids in Indiana, Kentucky, and New York)
  • Fr. Paul Shanley (who is one of the most notorious pedophile priests from Boston)
  • Fr. Gustavo Benson (who also spent time in San Diego, was sent for treatment to New Mexico and later worked in a diocese in Mexico)
  • Fr. Ruben Garcia (who also worked in the Tijuana, Mexico diocese and allegedly abused in Idaho)
  • Fr. Reilly (who allegedly abused in Oregon)
  • Fr. Ramos (who is accused of assaulting a child in Indiana)
  • Fr. Trujillo (who reportedly abused children in Mexico)
  • Fr. Jablonski (who is accused of molestation in Indiana, Illinois, and Maryland)
  • Fr. Kareta, Fr. John Haberthier, and Fr. Fidencio Silva Flores, MSPS (all of whom allegedly abused kids in the Los Angeles Archdiocese)

But as always, the church’s list of accused San Bernardino predator priests falls far short of what it could and should be. In fact, Bishop Accountability released a list of credibly accused clerics in the San Bernardino Diocese that is much more thorough and helpful.

At, for example, we learn that:

  1. Fr. Louis Perrault CSSP also worked in Arizona, Nevada, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania
  2. Fr. Michael Bucaro also worked in Wisconsin
  3. Fr. Saul Ayala is “possibly in active ministry in Mexico” 
  4. Fr. Fertal worked in Illinois and Pennsylvania
  5. Fr. Rudi Gil OSST, from Canada, was ‘treated’ at a facility run by the Servants of Paraclete and admitted during counseling that he had sexually abused a child (but was allowed to remain in ministry until 2002).

None of this information is provided by diocesan officials. Much of it comes from the public record: court documents and mainstream media accounts. 

Give All the Facts on Accused Clerics Sex Abuse Lists

Horowitz Law believes that citizens deserve ALL of the information to protect kids. We also learn a lot more about proven predators at If you enter the word “convicted” in the search box of the diocesan accused list, nothing turns up. But entering the same word in the search box at, one finds several such clerics under the San Bernardino diocese, including Fr. Benson, Fr. Edward Lawrence Ball, Fr. Anthony Martinez Garduno, Fr. Peter Covas, Fr. Jesus A. Domingo, Fr. Alejandro Jose Castillo, and Dennis Raymond Jost (a seminarian.)

That kind of deceit is alarming. But even worse is how many names are NOT on the San Bernardino accused list that should be. alerts us to these otherwise-overlooked proven, admitted, or credibly accused child molesting clerics who are or were in San Bernardino but are NOT on the official San Bernardino ‘accused’ list. They include: 

  • Fr. Owen da Silva OFM, who is on church credibly accused lists maintained by the Santa Barbara Province Franciscans and the Las Cruces New Mexico Diocese.
  • Fr. Peter H. Luque, who was once criminally charged with sexually assaulting two teenage boys and is included on a list of credibly accused clerics released by the San Diego Diocese.
  • Fr. Maximiliano Gomez Macouzet, who spent time in Rome and a diocese in Mexico and whose name now appears on a list of priests with credible allegations released by the San Diego Diocese.
  • Fr. Joseph R. Nunez, who was ordained in Mexico, was sent to San Diego, then back to Mexico, then back to San Diego, and was accused in a lawsuit of molesting a boy in San Bernardino. His personnel file was released in 2010 by the San Diego Diocese.
  • Br. Clifton Raymond Etienne SVD, who also worked in the Oakland Diocese and is on the San Diego Diocese’s credibly accused list.
  • Br. Kevin Dunne OFM, who lived/worked near Monterey, California, is on credibly accused lists maintained by at least three dioceses (Los Cruces, Santa Rosa, and Phoenix) and by the Santa Barbara Province Franciscans.

Like so many other prelates, the San Bernardino bishop’s accused list is replete with remarks designed to minimize the crisis. One priest, it notes, was “just visiting” and “had no faculties in the diocese.” (Ask one of his victims: “Does that in any way make the cleric’s crimes any less horrific?”) Finally, one particularly fascinating story out of the San Bernardino Diocese involves Fr. Anthony Rodrigue. Rodrigue admitted to molesting dozens of kids. And in a rare twist, Fr. Tony’s brother, Tom, publicly apologized for the cleric’s crimes and urged other victims to come forward and get help.

Over Fr. Rodrigue’s long career, he was assigned to many parishes, including ones in La Jolla, Lakeside, Encinitas, Calexico, Barstow, Riverside, Poway, El Centro, and Ontario. So, San Bernardino Bishop Rojas, like his colleague Bishop Joseph Brennan in Fresno, must divulge as much information as possible, not just what he deems adequate if children are to be protected and victims. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected]Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.