Father William Groves
Diocese of Pueblo
Assigned as follows:
- 1981-1982: St. Mary Church (Walsenburg, CO)
- 1983: St. Leander (Pueblo, CO)
- 1984-1986: St. Columba Church (Durango, CO)
- 1986-1989: St. Ignatius Mission (Ignacio, CO)
- 1990-2002: Absent on Leave
- 2003-2021: Unknown
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father William Groves:
Father William Groves was ordained a priest in 1980, and served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Pueblo. According to media reports, in 1990, Father Groves – known as ‘Father Bill’ – was accused of, and ultimately pleaded guilty to, sexual assault on a child. Groves, then 37, was removed as pastor of St. Ignatius Church and given 4 years’ probation and ordered to undergo sex offender treatment.
Prior to his arrest, Groves had also been accused of sheltering “runaway Indian and Hispanic kids and giving them drugs and alcohol,” according to media reports.
In 2009, two men filed civil suits against Groves and the Diocese of Pueblo alleging abuse in the 1980s at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Walsenburg and St. Ignatius Church in Ignacio. Both of Groves’ accusers were born in 1974. One claimed Groves subjected him to abuse for seven years, concluding in 1990 during his youth in Walsenburg.
The second man claimed that when he was 12 years old and living in Ignacio, Groves introduced him to alcohol and marijuana then committed sexual abuse on him and showed him pornography. The abuse allegedly lasted about one year.
After his removal from the church in 1990, Groves moved on to Cushing, Oklahoma, where he served as a chaplain and counselor to adults in drug and alcohol rehabilitation for 10 years. When leaders at Valley Hope Association found out about his previous conviction, he was fired in 2002.
Groves claimed he was told by Valley Hope personnel that the facility had a number of people on staff with felony convictions and that would not be a problem. However the center claimed when staff learned of Groves’ previous legal problems, they checked what he had written on his employment application and the details were inconsistent.
Groves then moved to Franklin, North Carolina, where he serves as the president and minister at the Spiritual Light Center. According to his biography on the church’s website, “Bill Groves arrived in WNC six years ago, and soon became our Office Manager. Following eight years in the seminary and ten years of Catholic priesthood, Bill worked 20 years as a licensed counselor,” so the Church is aware of his background.
In October 2019, the Colorado Attorney General released a detailed report of a special investigation into the handling of sexual abuse allegations by Colorado’s three Colorado dioceses. The investigation identified three documented victims of Groves between 1982 and 1989. The documents also showed concerns about Groves having “an interest in teenagers” while working as a seminarian in a Pueblo hospital.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Pueblo in Colorado. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Pueblo now have legal options, 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 Colorado and nationwide. We can help.
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