Fr Kevin Barmasse – Diocese of Tucson

Father Kevin Barmasse

Diocese of Tucson

Ordained: 1982

Laicized: 2006

Assigned as follows:

  • 1983-1986 St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, (Sierra Vista AZ)
  • 1986-1988 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, (Tucson, AZ)
  • 1988-1991 Blessed Sacrament Parish, (Mammoth AZ)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Kevin Barmasse:

According to media reports, Father Kevin Barmasse was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1982. He was accused of sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy in 1983. Documents in the file say that law enforcement was contacted after the allegation against Father Barmasse, but that prosecution wasn’t pursued because the parents didn’t want to subject their child to interviews, and because the parents and law enforcement believed the removal of Father Barmasse from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, plus psychiatric treatment for him, “would solve the problem.” 

Church officials did not remove him from ministry. In 1983, they sent him to Tucson. He remained a priest of the Archdiocese during the time of his assignments in the Diocese of Tucson. In 1991, Los Angeles church officials arranged for Father Barmasse to begin residential treatment at a facility in Maryland. After he was discharged, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony decided Father Barmasse was not fit for ministry and the Archdiocese paid for his ongoing therapy. 

Later in 1991, complaints from youth group members and their parents in the Diocese of Tucson had begun to surface. A report said that Father Barmasse made sexual advances toward five male high school students during his assignment at St. Elizabeth Parish. The students were between the ages of 17 and 20 at the time of the alleged abuse. 

Among the accusations was that Father Barmasse tried to get a 15-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him and that he provided the boy and others with beer and pornographic movies. According to documents, one boy said he’d been fondled on at least seven occasions between 1986 and 1987. One man said he’d had both oral and anal sex with Father Barmasse when he was 16.

Father Barmasse was suspended from ministry in 1992. His request to return to active ministry was denied in 1999.

In 2003, lawsuits were filed by men who said they’d repressed memories of the abuse. Lawyers said Father Barmasse engaged in “sacramental” sexual abuse with teen boys during prayer. 

“What is really tragic is that he targeted boys during prayer because they were devout and innocent,” said one lawyer.

“The Kevin Barmasse cases are very important. They clearly and unequivocally demonstrate the secret world of sexual cover-up going on in Western dioceses through the 1990s,” said John Manly, an attorney based in Costa Mesa, California, who filed lawsuits along with Tucson attorney Lynne M. Cadigan against the Diocese of Tucson and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, for which there were eight accusers.

All lawsuits were settled in the Diocese of Tucson bankruptcy case in 2005. These men also sued the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and were included in the $660M settlement July 2007. 

In May 2006, Father Barmasse was laicized. 

In July 2007, a criminal investigation was reopened in Arizona, although no criminal charges were ever filed against him. He currently lives in suburban Los Angeles.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Tucson.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Tucson, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Tucson now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.