Priest removed from Oregon for sex abuse ends up in Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO (AP) -- A Roman Catholic priest assigned by a religious order to Sacramento without telling diocesan officials about his history of sexual misconduct has been moved out of the capital, officials of the Franciscan religious order said Friday.

Franciscan officials said they had taken the action "due to an extraordinary degree of public attention."

They did not say where they would transfer the Rev. Gus Krumm, 49, who arrived here about six weeks ago without knowledge of the Diocese of Sacramento. Diocesan officials said they were discouraged to learn that Krumm, no longer active in ministry, was living in a downtown Franciscan friary next to a Catholic elementary school.

The Rev. David Deibel, vicar for canonical affairs for the diocese, criticized Krumm's surprise placement.

"I wish we had known ahead of time," Deibel said Friday on KSMH-AM, a Catholic station.

The Sacramento Bee reported Friday that the Franciscan religious order dismissed Krumm as pastor of Ascension Catholic Church in Portland, Ore., last year after he acknowledged sexual misconduct while assigned to St. Anthony's Seminary in Santa Barbara.

Since leaving St. Anthony's in 1987, Krumm also served as a parish priest in Huntington Beach. Church officials said they received no accusations of sexual misconduct in either the Huntington Beach or Portland parishes.

A 1993 report implicated Krumm and 10 other friars in a 23-year history of sexual misconduct at the seminary. An independent review panel said 34 students reported being molested.

Ray Higgins, a review board member who investigated St. Anthony's Seminary, and father of one of its molestation victims, said he was angered that the Franciscans moved Krumm to a parish near a school.

"It shows they have no regard for the protection of children, despite what they say," he said.

Meantime, sex abuse charges were dropped Friday against a former priest accused of molesting four boys 20 years ago and had previously been convicted of child molestation.

Lawrence Joseph Lovell, 55, was the sixth current or former priest in Los Angeles County who had sex abuse charges against him dismissed in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a California law erasing the statute of limitations on old child molestation cases.

Alhambra Superior Court Judge Carlos Uranga granted the prosecution's request to drop its case against Lovell, who was accused of molesting four boys at San Gabriel Mission between 1980 and 1984 when he was the youth pastor in charge of altar boys. The prosecution had charged Lovell with 11 counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14. He could have faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Lovell was previously convicted of child molestation in 1986 and removed from the ministry that same year.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that a 1994 California law retroactively extending the statute of limitations on old molestation cases is unconstitutional, effectively nullifying any charges filed in child sex abuse cases that occurred before Jan. 1, 1988.

--San Bernardino County prosecutors have moved to drop charges against a priest accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in Highland 30 years ago. Documents to dismiss the case against Monsignor Patrick O'Keeffe were filed Monday and are awaiting a judge's approval, said Susan Mickey, a district attorney's spokeswoman. O'Keeffe, 67, faced 15 felony counts of oral copulation with a minor related to allegations involving a 17-year-old parishioner at St. Adelaide Catholic Church in Highland in 1972. He left for his native Ireland shortly before he was charged.

O'Keeffe, a priest in San Diego and the Riverside-San Bernardino area since 1959, worked in the Diocese of San Bernardino since its creation in 1978. The diocese encompasses Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Diocese officials said he was dismissed in 1994 after the diocese reached a confidential settlement in a lawsuit filed by one of three women who accused O'Keeffe of having an affair with them. He retired as a priest in 1999.

--The ruling also means charges will be dropped against Donald Farmer, a former Glendale priest accused of molesting four children in Crestline in the mid-1960s, San Bernardino County prosecutor Jane Templeton said. Farmer, now a Fresno therapist, is to appear in court Aug.11, at which time the case will be dismissed, she said.

--On Tuesday, prosecutors dropped charges against Monsignor Peter Luque, 69, who faced 10 felony counts of lewd acts on a child stemming from allegations dating to 1963. Luque, who resigned as pastor of a Corona church in March, has pleaded innocent to charges he sexually abused two boys in Colton and San Bernardino in the 1960s.


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