We at Horowitz Law love getting feedback on the blogs we post. We’re incredibly grateful when readers alert us as to where child molesting clerics are today and what they’re up to. Here are just a few things we’ve learned recently about predator priests from individuals who learned about them here on this blog:
- Fr. Neil A. “Gus” Doherty, perhaps the most notorious Florida predator priest, has apparently just been let out of prison, according to one of his worried neighbors in the Dess Drive neighborhood of Orlando. (At least he’s on the state sex offender registry.)
- Fr. Michael Toth, deemed a ‘credibly accused’ child molester by the Ogdensburg Diocese in New York, is now a counselor in the Washington DC area, according to his LinkedIn profile. (We wrote about him a while back but mention him again because in the role of a counselor, who knows how many youngsters, teenagers, and vulnerable adults he has had access to and may still be around today.) He claims to be associated with Catholic University in DC.
- Fr. Thomas J. Benestad apparently now lives in Boca Raton in the Palm Beach diocese, according to a concerned neighbor. He was first named publicly as a ‘credibly accused’ abuser in a 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. The allegations were also deemed credible by law enforcement and the Allentown diocese.
- Fr. Gary M. Luiz, accused of abuse in California, is now in the Niagara Falls area of New York and is apparently now associated with the Precious Blood religious order.
We disclose where these men are because that’s the second-best way to protect kids and prevent abuse. The absolute best way, of course, is to convict and imprison predators. It’s especially important and prudent to expose child molesting clerics who are not monitored, supervised, or behind bars. (Sadly, that is the vast majority.) We must assume that they are still risks. Is that a fair assumption?
Based on years and years of representing clergy abuse survivors, we at Horowitz Law believe it is the only responsible assumption. Consider the alarming recent case of a Protestant preacher in North Carolina. He abused, was convicted, served time, got out, was re-hired, abused again, and was arrested just this month.
Sometimes, child molesting clerics manage to move or find other ways to get back ‘under the radar’ by changing their names, for example, as these priests have done: Link here. Or consider the recently hired Kansas City, Kansas, archdiocesan school principal, Phil Baniewicz. Previously, he was President at Maur Hill-Mount Academy in Atchison, Kansas. But before that, Baniewicz was named as a defendant in a child sex abuse lawsuit years earlier when he worked for a Catholic group called Life Teen. Life Teen was once the nation’s largest Catholic youth ministry based in Arizona. But its founder, Msgr. Dale J. Fushek was sued repeatedly for abuse, pled guilty to one count of criminal abuse, and later defrocked. Baniewicz now heads Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, Kansas.
Predator Name Changes
So it’s important, for the safety of children, that all of us do what we can to warn the public about potentially dangerous predators and their movements. It can be tough, however. As we’ve mentioned before on this blog, sometimes child molesters actually change their legal names to try and stay ‘under the radar.’
- A convicted pedophile Christian Brother changed his name from Ted Dowlan to Ted Bales. He also admitted to 55 other sex offenses committed during his long career.
- Br. Robert Noel Brouillette of Illinois was sentenced to four years probation for child pornography, sent to a church-run ‘treatment’ center, and changed his name to Robert Sullivan. He also worked in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Mexico.
- Fr. Carmine Sita of New Jersey was convicted of abuse, sent to a church-run treatment center’ and advised to change his name. He did so, and then his Catholic supervisors sent him to a small mid-Missouri diocese where he assaulted at least three other children.
- Fr. James Beine was charged with child sex crimes in both Illinois and Missouri. Surprisingly, he beat both charges. Not surprisingly, however, he changed his name to Marr James, moved to Nevada, and tried to get a teaching license.
- Br. Mark abused a boy in Iowa, then became a priest, and changed his name to Fr. Andrew Quillen.
- Joe Gutierrez, an ex-priest, teacher, and licensed therapist, reportedly plied at least three students with drugs and sexually abused them. He has changed his name to Jesse Gutierrez-Cervantes and lives in Sonoma, California.
So please continue reaching out to us when you hear, see, or even just suspect that a credibly accused abuser moves (or is sent) to another city, state, or country, changes his or her name, and is then around unsuspecting families. You just never know what a little information can do.
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 you were sexually abused by a member of a religious organization, contact us today at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.