A child molester and defrocked Catholic priest is being released from prison today and officials with the San Bernardino Diocese have pledged to warn their churches and schools of his arrival.
The pledge comes at the insistence of an advocacy group for those sexually abused by clergy after its members learned that Anthony Edward "Tony" Rodrigue will make his new home in San Bernardino.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, sent a letter to the bishops of the San Bernardino and San Diego dioceses on Tuesday. They are joined in their request by Rodrigue's brother, Tom Rodrigue, and several others.
"Although we do not know the location of his new residence, we are contacting all of our parishes and schools in San Bernardino alerting them of his release," said the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the San Bernardino Diocese. "We remain completely dedicated to the protection of children."
The SNAP members asked the dioceses to use their Web sites, newspapers and all parish bulletins to post Rodrigue's photo, past history assignments and inform all Catholics of his impending release.
They also asked that contact information for SNAP's self-help support group be posted in all parish bulletins as a resource for victims of clergy abuse. The group also asked the diocese to support California Senate Bill 261, which would end the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse.
Lincoln did not respond to those requests, declining further comment.
Officials with the San Diego diocese could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. Rodrigue could not be reached for comment because he is in prison.
Rodrigue, 69, served eight and a half years of a 10-year sentence for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old developmentally disabled Highland boy. He will be required to wear a Global Positioning Satellite anklet allowing state parole officials to track his movements 24 hours a day, according to his brother, Tom.
In 1997, he told a county sheriff's investigator that "as a Catholic priest he molested about five or six boys per year for over 20 years," according to a police report.