One-time Scranton Priest Under Papal Investigation: Pope sends delegation to Paraguay look into abuse allegations

Pope Francis is sending a cardinal and a bishop to Paraguay to investigate the activities of a priest previously accused of sex abuse in Pennsylvania, the Vatican’s diplomatic envoy to the Latin American country said.

The cardinal and the bishop will visit the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, in the country’s east in late July, said papal nuncio Monsignor Eliseo Ariotti.

Advertisement

They will likely look into the activities of the Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity, an Argentinian-born priest accused of sexually molesting minors when he served as a priest in Scranton more than a decade ago.

Urrutigoity is now second in command in Ciudad del Este and his career advance has provoked widespread debate among local bishops as well as opposition from the victims’ support group SNAP.

Urrutigoity was accused of sexual abuse in a highly publicized lawsuit in Scranton in 2002. At the time he and another priest, Eric Ensey, were suspended by now-retired Bishop James Timlin, amid allegations they had sexually molested students at St. Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst, now closed.

Urrutigoity was transferred to Canada before settling in Paraguay but his Pennsylvania diocese has described him as a “serious threat to young people” on its website and reiterated the concern of Timlin’s successor, Bishop Joseph Martino, who resigned in 2009.

“Martino also carefully and consistently expressed his grave doubts about this cleric’s suitability for priestly ministry and cautioned the Bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, to not allow Father Urrutigoity to incardinate into his diocese,” according to a statement on the diocese site, referring to the practice of a priest being placed under the jurisdiction of a different bishop.

Last week the Vatican defrocked former papal envoy, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, and he may face criminal prosecution at the Vatican after a church inquiry convicted him of child sexual abuse.

Wesolowski, who is originally from Poland, was removed from his position in the Dominican Republic and recalled to the Vatican last August amid claims he had abused boys in Santo Domingo.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Women served as deacons in Europe for about a millennium in a variety of ministerial and sacramental roles.
Brandon SanchezJanuary 15, 2019
In preparation for the gathering in Abu Dhabi, I find myself asking why my conversations with the future Pope Francis so powerfully affected both of us.
Abraham SkorkaJanuary 15, 2019
Photo: iStock
Included on the list is John T. Ryan, S.J., who from 1989 to 1994 was an associate editor for development at America.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 15, 2019
Did you ever wonder why Jesus was baptized? What sins did Jesus have to repent of? Nothing.
James Martin, S.J.January 14, 2019