A Few Surprises in the Diocese of San Jose’s List of Credibly Accused Clergy

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2022 | Firm News

Bishop Cantu Horowitz Law

The list of credibly accused child molesting clerics in San Jose contains a couple of surprises. First, San Jose Bishop Oscar Cantú is unusually forthcoming with his list, providing considerably more detail than many other bishops do. Second, his list contains a startling revelation; at least 55 predatory Jesuits have worked in the San Jose area. They include, Rene Astruc, Arnold Beezer, William Bischoff, John Brown, Joseph Burrus, Francis Callan, Thomas Connolly, Jules Convert, Patrick Conway, Robert Corrigal, John Coughlin, Arnold Custer, Norman Donohue, Francis Duffy, Herold Ernsdorff, Francis Fallert, Augustine Ferretti, Harold Greif, Henry Hargreaves, John Harrington, Bernard Harris, James Hurley, John Hurley, James Jacobson, Gordon Keys, David King, Leonard Kohlman, Jerold Lindner, Paul Linssen, John McDonald, James McDonough, William McIntyre, Bernard McMeel, John Ralph Moholy, John Morse, Cornelius Murphy, William Nash, Joseph Obersinner, Richard Pauson, Sylvester Penna, James Pierre, James Poole, Edmund Robinson, Charles Saalfeld, Theodore St. Hilaire, Gary Uhlenkott, Eugene Colosimo, Raymond Devlin, Charles Onorato, William Wood Arthur Falvey, Mark Falvey, William Farrington, Rene Gallant, John Leary, Gabriel Menager, James Monaghan, John Moniz, John Shepherd, Stephen Speciale, Edward Stretch, Thomas Sullivan, Carlton Whitten, and Stanislaus Wellington.

The Jesuits have been under a spotlight recently as new data shows that many accused clerics in the order were sent to or spent time on Native American missions and reservations. Bishop Cantu’s list gives some detail about what happened (though using vague and minimizing language like “sexual misconduct with children”) and when and where it happened (“at St. Leo the Great School between the years of 1971-1972.”) Sadly, many bishops withhold this kind of helpful information.

Bishop Cantu also lists 14 proven, admitted, and credibly accused diocesan clerics. They are Thomas Bettencourt, Paul Duggan (San Francisco, CA), Don Flickinger (Fresno, CA), Robert Gray, Arthur Harrison, Laurent Largente, Philip McCrillis, George Moss (San Francisco, CA), Joseph Pritchard, Noel Senevirante, Hernan Toro, Joseph Dondero, and Phil Sunseri, S.J.) At least three of them spent time in other dioceses, including Fr. Flickinger in Fresno and Frs. Duggan and Moss in San Francisco.

Thanks to Bishop Cantu, we also know the “last known whereabouts” of several predator priests, including Fr. Flickinger (Fresno), Fr. Gray (Sunnydale, CA), Fr. Larkin (San Jose), Fr. Sunseri (San Jose), Fr. Angel Mariano (Newark, CA), and Fr. Toro (incarcerated). Very few dioceses do this, so kudos to Cantu.

So why is Cantu somewhat more forthcoming with his credibly accused list than other bishops? One theory holds is that Cantu himself is the subject of a Vatican investigation. The allegations concern Cantu’s handling of abuse and misconduct cases in his former Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cantu was the bishop of Las Cruces from 2013 to 2018. And that probe has been going on for nearly two years, though Catholic officials have publicly said that such investigations “should be concluded within 90 days.

But regardless of Cantu’s motivations (which are likely mixed and unknowable), we are glad he is one of very few bishops who dare to go above the bare minimum and provide more information about child molesting clerics who are or were in his diocese. Of course, he can still do better.

We doubt that his credibly accused list is complete. We urge anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse in his diocese or elsewhere by clerics who were or are in San Jose to come forward, report predators, call the police, warn others and start healing. As we said earlier, Cantu could and should be straightforward and call abuse what it is rather than using euphemisms like “misconduct” instead of rape, abuse, and sodomy.

We are skeptical of the claim made several times by the bishop that “No Personnel Records” of some predators are “on File with the Diocese of San Jose (in the cases of Fr. James Monaghan, Fr. John Moniz, Fr. Charles Onorato and others.) We suspect that if this is true, it’s only because Cantu and his staff have refused to push their brother clerics elsewhere to turn over these records.

Finally, we at Horowitz Law are especially worried about the safety of children right now. So we feel duty bound to point out that some of these credibly accused child molesting clerics are apparently still alive, including Fr. Larkin, Fr. Gray, Fr. Farrington, Fr. Pereira, Fr. Speciale, Fr. Whitten, Fr. Wellington, Fr. Connolly, Fr. Conway, Fr. Jerold Lindner, Fr. St. Hilaire, and Fr. Uhlenkott.

If you or someone you love may have been hurt in the San Jose area or by current or former San Jose church employees – whether lay or ordained – we urge you to 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.