by Dunstan Prial, Associated Press
NEW YORK - Six priests from the Archdiocese of New York have been
suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct and their names have been
handed over to prosecutors, the latest developments in an ongoing church
probe that also include new allegations of misconduct in California.
The Roman Catholic archdiocese did not release the names of the priests
because not all of the allegations had been substantiated, archdiocese
spokesman Joseph Zwilling said in a statement Sunday.
The news comes less than a week after the archdiocese said it had given
the Manhattan district attorney's office a list of cases involving priests
who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors.
"The priests in question have been informed that they are not to present
themselves as priests or exercise their priestly ministry publicly at least
until the matter is further clarified or resolved," the statement said.
Officials would not comment on when the alleged abuses took place.
Zwilling said worshippers from parishes where priests were asked to step
down were notified by letter.
With 2.4 million members, the New York archdiocese is the nation's third
The Catholic Church has been rocked in recent months by accusations of
sexual misconduct by priests.
Also Sunday, a pastor approached last month about sexual abuse
allegations involving Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony said he believes
the claims are false.
Flora Mae Hickman, 51, of Fresno, alleges she was molested by Mahony
while a student at San Joaquin Memorial Catholic High School in 1969. After
leading Sunday Mass at St. John's Cathedral in Fresno, Calif., Monsignor
John Esquivel said, "I don't believe the allegations are true."
Hickman said she has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and is
taking medication for depression. She told The Associated Press that she
knocked unconscious while fighting with students and woke to find the
"bottom" portion of her clothing removed and Mahony, then a monsignor in
Fresno, "over her."
Hickman said she could not remember many details of what happened. She
has not alleged that Mahony touched her.
"She claimed that happened with 40 different youths watching. There's
way that is going to happen in front of all those people," Esquivel
Hickman went to Esquivel with the allegations last month. The Fresno
Police Department is investigating, and Mahony said he was cooperating.
Mahony revealed the accusation Friday night and denied it.
The AP does not normally identify alleged victims in sexual assault
cases, but Hickman gave permission for her name to be used.
In other developments:
- The Rev. Ponciano Ramos, a priest in the San Bernardino Diocese, has
resigned after admitting he attacked boys several years ago. Ramos was
charged with child molestation for allegedly fondling three boys in
Indianapolis in 1992, but pleaded guilty to lesser charges of battery and
received an 18-month suspended sentence, the Chicago Tribune reported
- The Boston Globe reported Sunday that another priest in the San
Bernardino Diocese was transferred from Boston in 1990 even though he had
faced decades of sexual abuse complaints.
A lawsuit alleges the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, 71, repeatedly raped a boy
during the 1980s when he was pastor of a church in Newton, Mass. The
molestation allegedly started when the boy was six and continued until he
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An attorney for alleged victim Gregory Ford, now 24, said he planned
release details Monday of church documents that he alleges show the Boston
Archdiocese knew of the complaints.