Urrutigoity wears vestments in photo

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The priest, targeted in suit alleging sex abuse, is banned from wearing garb in public.

The Times Leader

24 March 2004



SCRANTON – Despite orders from the Diocese of Scranton banning him from publicly wearing priestly garb, an area priest accused of sexual misconduct with young boys is pictured in full vestments in a new children’s prayer book.

The Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity appears on page seven in “A Child’s Missal,” a book developed and posted on the Internet by a company called Patmos Inc., which has ties to a priestly society founded by Urrutigoity.

Urrutigoity and the Rev. Eric Ensey are fighting a lawsuit accusing them of molesting a young man while he was a junior at St. Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst, where the two priests were initially assigned as they established the Society of St. John, now located in Shohola, Pike County.

Allegations of sexual misconduct by the two surfaced in 2001. In January 2002, then-Bishop James Timlin relieved both men of priestly duties and ordered them not to appear in public in priest clothing.

Yet in the new book, Urrutigoity is pictured wearing the vestments of a priest in front of an altar. The book isn’t finished, but the first eight pages are available on the Patmos Web site.

Diocese spokeswoman Maria Orzel said she knew nothing of the new book, but said Urrutigoity violated the ban if he posed for the picture after January 2002.

Orzel noted that the picture could have been taken before the ban, and said she did not know if publication of an older picture would violate that ban.

The Patmos Web site is under construction, and no information about the corporation is given. But a May fund-raising letter from the society – provided by society critic Jeffrey Bond – says the society is developing the Patmos site and asks for project contributions.

The Pennsylvania Department of State Corporation Bureau Web site does not list officers for the Patmos corporation, but lists the corporate address as 967 Bee Hollow Road, Shohola. According to voter registration records on the Internet, that’s also the address of Anthony J. Mioni. Bond said Mioni has been the society’s Web master.

A call Tuesday afternoon to the Rev. Daniel Fullerton, one of the society’s leaders, was not returned.

Bond was originally hired by the society to help establish a college in Shohola, but split from the group when he learned of accusations that some priests were sleeping with boys and plying them with alcohol.

He has waged a relentless campaign against the society ever since, and used the appearance of Urrutigoity’s photo in the new book to criticize the Diocese and Bishop Joseph Martino, who replaced Timlin in October.

In an “open letter” to Martino, Bond wrote: “While you have been busy shutting down Catholic elementary schools in your diocese, the (Society of St. John) has been busy rehabilitating Urrutigoity as ‘child friendly’ by preparing to place his image in the minds of unsuspecting Catholic boys.”

No police charges have been filed against the priests, but an alleged victim, identified as John Doe, filed a suit in March 2002 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

That case has taken some sharp turns in recent weeks, thanks to the revelation that both priests, at Timlin’s suggestion, were subject to at least two psychological evaluations after the accusations emerged.

Ordinarily, results of those evaluations would be protected by doctor/patient confidentiality laws. But James Bendell, the attorney for John Doe, argues that confidentiality didn’t apply because the results had been shared with a third party: Timlin.

The judge agreed to let Bendell see the test results, but attorneys for the priests are still fighting the move, contending the priests never gave permission for Timlin to learn of the results.

In the latest paperwork, filed last Thursday, Bendell dismissed that argument. He pointed out that Timlin was following diocese policy when he asked the two priests to submit to evaluations and when he had the diocese pay for those evaluations. Bendell pointed out that it would also be diocese policy for Timlin to see the evaluation results.

Mark Guydish, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7161.

ON THE WEB: www.patmos.us

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