Follow-up clergy sex abuse report uncovers additional 46 claims of abuse in Colorado

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DENVER (KDVR) — An additional 46 people who were sexually abused by Catholic priests have come forward with substantiated claims of abuse since the Colorado Attorney General’s Office released its first report on clergy sex abuse last fall, according to a follow-up report released Tuesday.

Five of the newly identified priests served in the Denver Archdiocese. They are Father Kenneth Funk, Father Daniel Kelleher, Father James Moreno, Father Gregory Smith, and Father Charles Woodrich, who is also known as “Father Woody” in the community.

Father Woody was the pastor of Holy Ghost Catholic Church and was responsible for kicking off a yearly tradition of welcoming the homeless into the church. The event is known as Father Woody’s Christmas Party.

Four of the newly identified priests served in the Pueblo Diocese. They are Monsignor Marvin Kapushion, Father Duane Repola, Father Carlos Trujillo, and Father Joseph Walsh.

Twenty-three of the children in the report were sexually abused by 13 diocesan priests serving in the Denver Archdiocese. Twenty-three of the children in the report were sexually abused by 12 diocesan priests serving in the Pueblo Diocese.

All 46 newly substantiated child sex abuse incidents occurred between 1951 and 1999. Three-quarters of them occurred during the 1960s and 1970s.

Only 1 of those 46 incidents was not reported to law enforcement even though required by Colorado law when the victim first came forward in 2006.

16 of the 46 newly reported victims were abused after the relevant diocese was already on notice that the priest was a child sex abuser.

Father Woody’s name is also attached to a thriving homeless shelter in Denver, once called “Father Woody’s Haven of Hope”, is now just called “Haven of Hope.”

“Since I heard the report this morning and the actual allegations my stomach hasn’t been really friendly,” said Tawnya Trahan, the executive director of Haven of Hope.

The non-profit has been working endlessly to remove Father Woody’s name from its organization since the board first got wind of the allegations early this year.

“There’s not a person in this building who has ever even personally met Father Woody,” said Trahan. “The reason we had Father Woody in our name is because of the founder’s admiration for the work he did for the homeless and poor in Denver, which is widely known.’

Haven of Hope has spent months working to change their signs outside the building, print new business cards, update its website and even formally change the name of the organization with the state.

“I still come across little details where I need to change the name again,” said Trahan. “It’s so important to protect our mission and not let something that a man did in the 70’s or 80’s change what we are doing here. That man never stepped foot in our shelter.”

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