Roman Catholic Church Removes Two Priests Linked To Sex Abuse Scandal

KOLD News 13 Reporter/August 5, 2004
By Jim Becker

The two priests can no longer perform church ceremonies, wear clerical garb or get financial support from the church. Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas announced Robert Trupia as well as Michael Teta will no longer be a part of the church as clergy.

The two men had been accused of sexually abusing children in the 70's and 80's. The church is saying it is definitely serious about protecting children and everyone else from sex abuse.

While one abuse victim says the church is more concerned with protecting its image, the head of the Tucson diocese implies he understands why victims would be cynical.

"When trust is violated, especially by a person in a position of trust, it is a very painful and shocking experience," said Rev. Kicanas, "it can be restored only little by little by little."

Kicanas says the church is doing that, restoring trust, by getting rid of abusive priests and implementing measures to help victims report abuse and find support. He adds the church now brings all allegations of sexual misconduct against any individual to a review board for an investigation. Background checks have also been performed on more than 2,000 employees of the diocese, Kicanas said.

"I believe that they're trying to create the appearance that they're dealing with it," said Jim Parker, southern Arizona director of 'snap', or survivors network of people abused by priests.

Parker says he was abused in Michigan. He's met with church leaders there and here in Tucson, including bishop Kicanas. He has not gotten closure.

"The piece that is missing for me, I don't get the feeling the church is embracing the survivors and taking full responsibility for what they've created," Parker said. "Until they do that, I don't think we'll have closure with the church."

Both former priests now have civil complaints against them. Both also worked for a time at our mother of sorrows church. A statement from Our Mother of Sorrows says they've been holding a series of open meetings since 2002, for the purpose of healing.

The Monsignor Thomas Calahane says his 'heart aches for victims' and their families, as well as families of abusers.

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