Acting on recommendations from the diocese’s Independent Review Board, Bishop Jaime Soto this week returned to ministry two priests who had been removed from ministry pending investigations of sexual abuse.
The priests are Fr. Daniel Madigan, former pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Clarksburg, and Fr. Maurice O’Brien, former pastor of St. Monica Parish in Willows. Both priests are retired.
In each case, an investigation was conducted into allegations of conduct that would violate the Church’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The diocese’s Independent Review Board reviewed the findings of these investigations, determined there was not sufficient evidence to indicate abuse had occurred, and recommended each priest be returned to ministry immediately.
The Independent Review Board is comprised of 11 members from diverse professional backgrounds and occupations including law enforcement, mental health, education, social work and victim psychological services. The board reviews every case involving accusations of sexual misconduct or abuse of a minor and recommends an appropriate action to Bishop Soto.
Since 2018, the board has recommended that 45 priests and two deacons be added to the diocese’s list of clergy facing credible accusations of sexual abuse of a minor or young person.
Our diocese takes every accusation of abuse extremely seriously. We follow a strict process that seeks to protect victims, report to law enforcement, inform parishioners and investigate each matter thoroughly. Any cleric accused of abuse of a minor is immediately removed from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation, and a single sustained allegation is cause for permanent removal.
We ask anyone who believes they or someone they know may have experienced sexual abuse to please notify law enforcement and, if desired, contact the diocese’s Pastoral Care Coordinator at 866-777-9133.