Denver-based Catholic order identifies 13 friars with credible sex abuse allegations

DENVER -- A Denver-based Catholic order identified 13 friars with credible sexual abuse allegations against them Thursday.

The Capuchin Province of St. Conrad is based in Denver and covers Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. It also includes the diocese of Belleville, Peoria and Springfield in Illinois as well as two houses in San Antonio, Texas.

All of the allegations involve either a minor or a vulnerable adult.

Of the 13 friars accused, three are dead and four have left the order. One of the deceased left the order prior to his death. According to the order, none are in active ministry.

Nine of the 13 friars worked in Colorado. They were assigned to churches in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas.

In a press release published Thursday, Provincial Minister Fr. Christoper Popravak, O.F.M.Cap issued the following statement:

“As friars and followers of St. Francis of Assisi, our vocation is to serve as lesser brothers. Therefore, the abuse of a minor by someone in such a sacred position of trust is all the more egregious. I have personally met with numerous victims and can attest to the devastation wreaked upon their lives and those of their families. Though the words may ring hollow as many other Church leaders are voicing similar sentiments, I can only say that I am sorry from the depths of my heart. I have asked the friars of our Province to commit to serious penance and reparation on behalf of the misdeeds of our brothers and for the healing of victims. The results of the audit we are releasing today is only the first step in a new age of transparency. We are striving to be vigilant and have taken serious steps in the last fifteen years to ensure the careful and diligent screening of candidates to our way of life. We must persevere in our efforts to ensure that such a scandalous series of violations never occurs again.”

The order said the list was published following an audit from "an outside group of qualified professionals."

According to the order, auditors did not find significant areas of concern with supervision over and compliance with the order's safety plans for friars who are under supervision for credible allegations of abuse.

"The auditors also found a marked increase and improvement in documentation regarding allegations and attention to issues related to training and sharing of information with the Province’s leadership team," the press release states.

Moreover, the Capuchin order said that an allegation is deemed credible if "an administrative investigation determines that in the opinion of the investigators it is more likely than not based on the facts presented that the alleged abuse occurred." It said that a friar's inclusion on the list does not imply that the allegations against him are true or that a crime has been committed. However, the order said that "every effort has been made to ensure the list is accurate."

"In most instances, the claims were made many years after the alleged abuse, making it difficult to conduct a complete investigation," the press release states.

The Archdiocese of Denver sent the following statement to FOX31 and Channel 2:

"The Capuchin Province of St. Conrad serves within the Archdiocese of Denver with the permission of the Archbishop of Denver, but all matters relating to its friars are handled by the province. Any criminal allegation reported to the archdiocese involving a member of a religious order would be immediately reported to local authorities and the religious order."

Anyone who was abused by a Capuchin member is encouraged to contact law enforcement and Jason Faris, the safe environment coordinator for the province. He can be reached at: 303-477-5436 or jason.faris@capuchins.org.

A list of the friars accused is below. Beyer, Jones, Scarry, Shinsky and Wolfe all have one credible allegation of sexual abuse against a minor. Colucci, Gilardi, Gottschalk, Haas, Meis and Posey all have more than one credible allegation of sexual abuse against a minor. Gross has more than one allegation of sexual abuse against a vulnerable adult.

 

Gregory Beyer (died 2010)

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1970s

Pastoral assignments:

St. Bonaventure Friary, Hays, Kansas

Sacred Heart Friary, Atwood, Kansas

St. Fidelis Friary, Victoria, Kansas

St. Conrad Friary, Lawrence, Kansas

St. Joseph Friary, Hays, Kansas

Annunciation Friary, Denver

Solanus Casey Friary, Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

David Jones

Status: Dismissed from order in 1987

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1986

Pastoral assignments: None

 

Benignus Scarry

Status: Left the order in 2016

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1980s

Pastoral assignments:

St. Joseph Friary, Hays, Kansas

St. Bonaventure Friary, Hays, Kansas

St. Crispin Friary, St. Louis

St. Conrad Friary, Lawrence, Kansas

San Damiano Friary, Denver

San Antonio Friary, Denver

St. Francis of Assisi Friary, Denver

Our Lady of Angels Friary, Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

Felix Shinsky

Status: Removed from ministry/under supervision

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1977

Pastoral assignments:

St. Mary Friary, Herman, Pennsylvania

St. Fidelis Friary, Victoria, Kansas

St. Conrad Friary, Annapolis, Maryland

Mother of Divine Shepherd Friary, Mendi Papua New Guinea

Queen of the Friars Minor Friary, Kagua, Papua New Guinea

St. Fidelis Friary, Nipa, Papua New Guinea

Santa Clara Friary, Denver

St. Elizabeth Friary, Denver

St. Francis of Assisi Friary, Denver

 

Charles Wolfe

Status: Dismissed from order in 1987

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1976

Pastoral assignments:

St. Bonaventure Friary, Hays, Kansas

Good Shepherd Friary, Shawnee, Kansas

St. Joseph Friary, Hays, Kansas

Holy Cross Friary, Thornton, Colorado

 

Bennett Colucci

Status: Removed from ministry/under supervision

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1970s-1980s

Pastoral assignments:

Fraternidad San Conrado, Ponce, Puerto Rico

Fraternidad San Miguel, Utuado, Puerto Rico

Fraternidad Santa Cruz, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico

Fraternidad San Joaquin, Adjuntas, Pennsylvania

Fraternidad Santa Maria de los Angeles, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico

Annunciation Friary, Denver

Alverno Friary, Denver

Holy Cross Friary, Thornton, Colorado

Santa Clara Friary, Denver

St. Joseph Friary, Hays, Kansas

St. Fidelis Friary, Victoria, Kansas

 

Ron Gilardi

Status: Removed from ministry/under supervision

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1990s

Pastoral assignments:

St. Bonaventure Friary, Hays, Kansas

St. Joseph Friary, Hays, Kansas

St. Fidelis Friary, Victoria, Kansas

 

David Gottschalk

Status: Removed from ministry/under supervision

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1970s

Pastoral assignments:

St. Fidelis Friary, Victoria, Kansas

St. Francis Friary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

St. Francis Friary, Washington

Good Shepherd Friary, Shawnee, Kansas

St. John Friary, Lawrence, Kansas

St. Conrad Friary, Allison Park, Pennsylvania

St. Francis Friary, Denver

Our Lady of Angels Friary, Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

Julian Haas

Status: Removed from ministry/under supervision

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1970s-1980s

Pastoral assignments:

St. Mary Friary, Herman, Pennsylvania

St. Bonaventure Friary, Hays, Kansas

St. Joseph Friary, Hays, Kansas

St. Lawrence of Brindisi Friary, Rome

Annunciation Friary, Denver

Capuchin Historical Institute Friary, Rome

St. Crispin Friary, St. Louis

St. Patrick Friary, St. Louis

Solanus Casey Friary, Colorado Springs, Colorado

General Curia Friary, Rome

St. Francis of Assisi Friary, Denver

Our Lady of Angels Friary, Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

Finian Meis (dead; date not provided)

Status: Left Order in 1992

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1960s-1970s

Pastoral assignments:

St. Fidelis Friary, Victoria, Kansas

St. Joseph Friary, Hays, Kansas

Good Shepherd Friary, Shawnee, Kansas

St. Conrad Friary, Kansas City, Missouri

 

Thaddeus Posey (died 2013)

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1980s

Pastoral assignments:

St. Francis Friary, Washington

Annunciation Friary, Denver

Alverno Friary, Denver

St. Conrad Friary, Kansas City, Missouri

St. Patrick Friary, St. Louis

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Fidelis Friary, Victoria, Kansas

 

Daniel Schartz

Status: Left the Order in 1980

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1970s

Pastoral assignments:

St. Bonaventure Friary, Hays, Kansas

St. Joseph Friary, Hays, Kansas

 

Matthew Gross

Status: Removed from ministry/under supervision

Estimated timeframe of abuse: 2000s-2010s

Pastoral assignments:Our Lady of the Angels Friary, Erave Papua New Guinea

St. Conrad Friary, Burani, Papua New Guinea

St. Francis Friary, Tari, Papua New Guinea

Mary Queen of the Friars Minor Friary, Kagua, Papua New Guinea

St. Clare Friary, Ialibu, Papua New Guinea

Mother of Divine Shepherd Friary, Mendi, Papua New Guinea

St. Joseph Friary, Hays, Kansas

Annunciation Friary, Denver

Solanus Casey Friary, Colorado Springs, Colorado

St. Francis of Assisi Friary, Denver

Our Lady of Angels Friary, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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