SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Diocese of Sacramento added six new allegations against five former priests to its list of clergy who faced accusations of child sexual abuse.
In a news release sent out on Tuesday, the diocese said though the priests were already on the list, all six allegations are new. Those five priests were Gerardo Beltran Rico, William Feeser, Francisco Javier Garcia, William Hold and Uriel Ojeda.READ MORE: IN PHOTOS: May 2022 'Blood Moon' Dazzles Skywatchers Across The World
All of them were assigned by the diocese to areas in Northern California including but not limited to Sacramento, Woodland, Vacaville, Winters, Vallejo and Redding.
The diocese said the new entries to the list resulted from an independent program—between September 2019 to this summer—where individuals were able to obtain settlements for claims of abuse by priests, regardless of when it happened.READ MORE: Judge: California's Law Requiring Women On Corporate Boards Is Unconstitutional
“This independent program did what we prayed it would do,” Bishop Jaime Soto said in the news release. “First and foremost, it created a venue where victims of clergy abuse could come forward and seek justice and healing for the pain that was inflicted on them by men who betrayed their trust. Second, it provided information that we are using to ensure that our reckoning of the past is as thorough and transparent as it needs to be if we are to seek God’s mercy.”
According to the diocese, Rico and Garcia remain fugitives, while Feeser and hold were listed as deceased. Ojeda was dismissed from the clerical state in 2016.MORE NEWS: Applications Now Open For $10K Grants For Sacramento Artists
“I continue to pray and seek atonement for the horrible sins of clergy sexual abuse. Because the pain suffered by victims is ongoing, my efforts to safeguard the young and vulnerable – and to hold accountable those who would betray the trust placed in them – must be ongoing as well,” Bishop Soto said. “I will always seek to atone for these sins and to aid the innocent victim-survivors who have been so cruelly betrayed.”