Tag: Ponciano Ramos

divine word missionaries sexual abuse

Most Religious Orders Still Operate ‘Under the Radar’

Most Catholic religious orders still refuse to put out a list of ‘credibly accused’ clerics. The latest one to actually take this minimal step, however  is the Chicago-based Divine Word Missionaries.


It’s a pretty interesting list. And a somewhat vague one.

California has 39.5 million people. It covers 161,000 square miles and has 12 Catholic dioceses.

A credibly accused Divine Word cleric, Brother Jeremiah Walsh, worked there.

That’s all we’re told by his church supervisors. Not a town name or parish name or even a diocesan name.

Florida is smaller, with 21.5 million people over 65,758 square miles and seven Catholic dioceses.

Another credibly accused cleric, Fr. Crescente DeRivera, worked there.

Again, that’s all the information we’re given.

At least that’s better than how Divine Word officials list several other ‘credibly accused’ abusers.

Fr. Louis Altendorf was in China (population 1.4 billion).

Fr. Ponciano Ramos was in the Philippines (population: 109 million).

Br. Deogratias Aguilar was in Mexico (population 128 million).

Fr. Andrew (Dorfmeister) Masters was in South Africa, England and Ireland.

The list goes on and on: Br. Henry Miller (Ghana, Kenya), Fr. Elias Aiyako (Jamaica), Fr. Michael Carew (Ghana). . . .

But absolutely no one has any idea if these priests or brothers were in huge cities or tiny villages or both.

How on earth could providing this basic information be hurtful to Catholic officials, who constantly puff out their chests and declare how ‘open’ and ‘transparent’ they are about abuse these days?


And as bad as the Divine Word order is, the Christian Brothers worse.

They published a list of accused clerics only because they were forced to do so when they sought Chapter 11 protection.

That list has only individual names on it. No pictures or assignments. No years of ordination, death or abuse. No nothing.

And as best we can tell, the Christian Brothers haven’t updated the list since it was first posted seven years ago, except to note that one of the clerics has passed away.


Think about that a minute: essentially what the Christian Brothers hierarchy is saying either:

“We only posted a predators’ list because we were forced to and now that the litigation is over, we’re going right back to our secretive, reckless and callous secrecy,”


“Not a single allegation against a single Christian Brother has surfaced in seven years that we deem credible or even worthy of public mention.”

What makes all this so egregious is that members of both religious orders work among some of the most vulnerable youngsters in the world – mostly Catholic kids in mostly Catholic schools, including those in boarding schools and in developing nations.

Help us force the truth out of recalcitrant, secretive religious orders. Ask your Catholic and ex-Catholic acquaintances if they know or suspect anything about clergy sex crimes and cover ups by Marianists, Jesuits, Christian Brothers, Divine Word Missionaries or any of the hundreds of other such church entities.

Horowitz Law represents children and adults who were victims of sexual abuse by clergy — whether it it a priest, brother minister, rabbi, deacon, nuns, or other clergy in civil lawsuits. If you or someone you know was a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault at a church or other religious organization, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com


Fr. Ponciano Ramos – Diocese of San Bernardino

Father Ponciano Ramos

Diocese of San Bernardino/Divine Word

Ponciano Ramos Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1985

Removed: 2002 and 2018

Assignment History:

  • 1986-1992: St. Rita (Indianapolis, IN)
  • 1993: Unknown
  • 1994-1996: Society of the Divine Word (Riverside, CA)
  • 1997: Unknown
  • 1998: St. Martha’s (Murrieta, CA)
  • 1999-2003: St. Mary of the Valley (Yucca Valley, CA)
  • 2004-2016: Society of the Divine Word Missionaries (Riverside, CA)
  • 2017-2018: Unknown

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Ponciano Ramos:

In 1992, Fr. Ponciano Ramos was accused of sexually abusing three boys at St. Rita Catholic School in Indianapolis, Indiana. The boys were 13 and 14 at the time of sexual abuse.

According to media reports, the incident began when the three boys set off two stink bombs in the school, after which all three were forced to submit to a strip search by Ramos. “The touching that occurred during the course of these was done in a rude, insolent and angry manner,” according to a plea agreement in the case. He eventually pled guilty to criminal charges of child sexual abuse and was sentenced to an 18-month suspended sentence and 15 months of probation.

Following the conviction, Ramos was briefly moved to Chicago and then to the Diocese of San Bernardino. He was removed from ministry in 2002. Less than a year later, in 2003, the Diocese of San Bernardino allowed Ramos to return to active ministry.

Ramos was included in the Diocese of San Bernardino’s 2018 list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. According to the list, the diocese became aware of Ramos’ misdemeanors in 2002 and removed him. Ramos was permanently banned from ministry in the diocese, however, Ramos was reportedly working at Divine Word Seminary in Riverside, California, until 2017. His status as a priest, whereabouts, and whether he had access to children from 2017 to the present, is unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of San Bernardino in California. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of San Bernardino now have legal options due to a voluntary compensation fund created by the Diocese of San Bernardino, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.