San Jose Catholic Diocese forms sex abuse task force

The Associated Press
Saturday May 04, 2002

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Catholic Diocese of San Jose announced Friday it had begun to form a task force that will review the diocese’s policy regarding clergy sexual abuse. 

Bishop Patrick J. McGrath has asked San Jose businessman Michael Fox and former San Jose mayor Tom McEnery to co-chair the task force. 

The bishop hopes to have the full task force in place within the next 10 days. 

At least one member of the team will be a “victim survivor,” McGrath said. The task force will also include experts in psychology, law enforcement and human relations. 

Word of the task force formation comes after 10 men who attended the St. Martin of Tours parish school, a Catholic grade school in San Jose, told The Mercury News that former pastor Joseph T. Pritchard repeatedly molested them and other young boys. 

Some of the students say they suspect church officials transferred Pritchard to St. Nicholas church in Los Altos in 1978, where he served as pastor until he died of cancer in 1988, because of sexual-abuse allegations. 

Church officials say they have no records indicating there was a problem. Nonetheless, McGrath apologized to the alleged victims. 

“These young men took appropriate action. I do not feel that this was an attack on the church, rather, it was a step toward positive change,” McGrath said. 

McGrath also appointed a liaison to head an outreach program for the pastoral care of victims and their families.