Further investigation into Colorado Catholic Church IDs 46 more victims, 9 more abusive priests — including Denver’s Father Woody

New report brings total number of known abusive priests in Colorado to 52, number of child victims to 212

From left, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, the Very Rev. Randy Dollins and Archbishop Samuel Aquila during a press conference to announce a new investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. Weiser and the Catholic Dioceses of Colorado announced a joint initiative to give support to survivors of sexual abuse in the church.

For two years, Father James Moreno sexually assaulted a teenage boy dozens of times after they met at a Denver Catholic school — including in the rectory of the city’s most prominent church.

Moreno assaulted the boy more than 60 times between 1978 and 1980. He groomed him, gave him alcohol and marijuana, and raped him, according to a report released Tuesday by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

The abuse happened all over Denver: in the rooms of St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary High School, in Moreno’s car, in the boy’s home, in the rectory of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the heart of Denver, one block from the state Capitol.

The teen, now grown, reported the abuse to authorities last year after the publication of a state-led investigation into child sex abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests in Colorado. Additional investigation into Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses found nine more priests who sexually abused children, including Moreno and a Denver priest and advocate for the poor known as Father Woody, along with 46 more victims of abusive priests — ending a nearly two-year investigation into the dioceses by state authorities.

The new incidences of abuse included in a supplemental report released Tuesday bring the total number of known abusive priests in Colorado to 52 and the total number of children they abused to 212, according to the independent investigator hired by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the diocese. The investigator, former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, released his initial findings in October 2019 but continued to investigate as more survivors came forward after the publication of his first report.

“The work we have to do is to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said Tuesday during a news conference, noting he didn’t expect to issue any more reports.

More than half of the 212 children were abused after church leaders knew of allegations that the priest abused children, according to the report. Several of the children were younger than 10 years old when a priest began to abuse them.

“Specifically, these incidents provide further evidence that historically the dioceses enabled clergy child sexual abuse by transferring abusive priests to new parishes; taking no action to restrict their ministry or access to children; concealing the priests’ behavior with secrecy, euphemism and lack of documentation; silencing victims; and not reporting the abuse to law enforcement,” Troyer wrote in the supplemental report released Tuesday.

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