Father Carlos Urrutigoity
Diocese of Scranton
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Carlos Urrutigoity:
In an effort to return disaffected members of the Society of St. Pius X to membership in the Catholic Church, Bishop James C. Timlin on the Diocese of Scranton interviewed a group of men who claimed that they were seeking to return to the true church. The group of men called themselves the Society of St. John (SSJ) and included among them was one of the order’s founders, Father Carlos Urrutigoity and Fr. Eric Ensley.
There were no background checks or reviews of their seminary or priestly formation records at that time. Father Urrutigoity and Father Ensey were subsequently incardinated into the Diocese.
On September 15, 2001, Timlin was informed that Urrutigoity had made it a practice to sleep in the same bed with boys and young men. Timlin immediately questioned Urrutigoity who denied any immoral behavior.
Urrutigoity did admit that there may have been occasions when overcrowded conditions prompted shared sleeping arrangements. Timlin ordered Urrutigoity to stop the behavior and the allegation was brought before the Diocesan Review Board.
Because there was no specific complaint, however, the Board believed that Timlin’s instruction was all that could be done.
On January 12, 2002, Timlin received correspondence from a representative of the Pope. Attached was a letter written by a victim’s father accusing Urrutigoity of sexual misconduct of his minor child. These allegations were investigated by the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office, however, because the statute of limitations had expired, no criminal charges were filed against Urrutigoity.
The Diocese of Scranton was ultimately sued by the minor victim, who received a settlement.
Urrutigoity was sent for clinical assessments and removed from active ministry, pending the outcome of the Diocese of Scranton’s investigation.
Urrutigoity Picks Up Ministering in Paraguay
On November 19, 2004, Bishop Martino issued a decree suppressing the SSJ. While awaiting the Diocesan investigation, Urrutigoity requested to be excardinated from the Diocese of Scranton so they could be incardinated in a Paraguay diocese with the hopes of re-establishing the SSJ in South America.
The request was initially denied. In 2008, however, Urrutigoity was excardinated from the Diocese of Scranton and incardinated into the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. The Bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este praised Urrutigoity at the time of his incardination, citing a letter written by Timlin wherein Timlin gave a glowing opinion of the SSJ and Urrutigoity.
The SSJ was re-created in Paraguay and Urrutigoity was promoted to second in charge of the Order. In 2014, the Vatican initiated an investigation into Urrutigoity and the Bishop of Ciudad del Este. Urrutigoity was removed as second in command and the Bishop was suspended.
The Vatican claims the removal was due to politics and was not related to past allegations of abuse.
Urrutigoity’s last known location was in Paraguay in 2014. There are no public records showing his current whereabouts.
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