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Wednesday, June 23, 2004
The Dallas Morning News
Cleric vanished during treatment
fled after treatment center officials forced him to sign an admission of long investigation of accused abuse. Father Dominic said that he priests’ international movements. British church leaders bailed did not abuse the boys and that the priest out of jail, and bishops in they made allegations in retaliaPakistan knew he was a fugitive tion for his efforts to collect a debt and let him work anyway. And he from an accuser’s father. “That’s has recently served in the United B.S.,” said the one accuser The States, apparently without under- News reached, who is unrelated to the other alleged victim. going a background check. A current treatment center Such is the tangle of this priest’s life that even his name and age are leader, the Rev. Liam Hoare, deunclear. He is the 54-year-old Rev. clined to comment and would not Yusaf Dominic in the Archdiocese provide contact information for of Lahore, Pakistan, where he was the predecessor who oversaw Faordained and technically remains ther Dominic’s treatment. The based. But here in the Italian Dio- News could not locate that priest, cese of Savona-Noli — whose lead- whom Father Hoare said had been transferred to er said he knew the Philippines. nothing of the Father abuse case — he Dominic said is known as the British authori48-year-old ties returned Rev. Dominic his passport Yousuf. when he left On Concorjail; authorities dia’s steps, Fawould not conther Dominic the Rev. Yusaf Dominic firm that. offered no exWestminster planation for the confusion. “I don’t have any- Archdiocese records show no inthing in my mind” about it, he said formation about how Father during a rambling interview in Dominic got out of England, which he frequently contradicted spokesman Timothy Livesey said. But he acknowledged that church himself. In the Archdiocese of Newark, representatives erred in arranging N.J., where Father Dominic Father Dominic’s bail. The Rev. Tony Brunning agreed worked at St. Francis of Assisi Church in 2002, queries about the to be liable for the bail, which was priest’s name brought a chuckle a “mistake,” said Mr. Livesey. Father Brunning, a longtime friend from the associate pastor. “That was a question that was of the suspect, declined to comalways under debate,” said the ment. After Father Dominic abscondRev. Eugene Field. One of Father Dominic’s accus- ed, Mr. Livesey said, “the diocese ers in London expressed outrage wrongly paid” the approximately at the priest’s continuing parish $3,600 that Father Brunning assignments, which keep him in owed. He identified the person who authorized this indemnificathe presence of children. “That’s when your hair stands tion as the Rev. Ralph Brown, who on end and your blood boils,” said was the diocese’s vicar general at the young man, who spoke on the the time. Monsignor Brown did condition he not be identified. not respond to an interview request. “This guy’s got to be stopped.” It is a crime in Britain even to Fitness always in doubt agree to indemnify someone who Father Dominic’s globetrotting is liable for a bail payment, and began in the 1970s, long before he Mr. Livesey acknowledged that was arrested in London — but well the archdiocese came under crimiafter he was first identified as a nal investigation because of Monsignor Brown’s action. The archdipoor prospect for ministry. “He was not a very good stu- ocese was not prosecuted. Monsignor Brown “did not redent,” said Lahore Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha, who taught alize there was anything wrong” in him at a junior seminary and has what he was doing and has apolobeen a diocesan boss since 2001. gized, Mr. Livesey said The original investigator on the “He’s not coordinated in his thinking, not logical. His mind is not case, Detective Constable Keith Olivant, said that what happened very clear.” Asked how such a young man was “an absolute offense where igcould be deemed fit for the priest- norance is no excuse.” He said he hood, the archbishop replied: did not know why the archdiocese “That’s a good question. It was not was not prosecuted. “It’s something they ought to be in my hands.” A few years after he was or- prosecuted for,” the detective said. A spokeswoman for the Crown dained in 1974, Father Dominic began visiting London periodical- Prosecution Service declined to ly and working temporarily in par- comment on anything related to ishes of its Westminster Archdio- the case because it remains open. cese. He studied in Rome in the Legal standstill mid-1980s, sometimes spending summers as a substitute priest in Britain and Pakistan have no the New York City area. extradition treaty, and London poFather Dominic was arrested in lice apparently quit working the late 1996 while at St. Bernard Par- case. ish in London, accused of molestThe accuser interviewed by The ing two boys in the 1980s. After News said he has never heard from leaving jail, he was sent to a clergy the current investigator on the treatment center in rural England case, Detective Sgt. Caer Taylor. run by the Servants of the Para- The detective told The News she clete religious order, which be- didn’t know whether the case was came notorious in the United still pending and, when told that a States for its past practice of help- reporter had located the priest, she ing return abusers to parish work. didn’t ask for his address. In early 1997, Father Dominic Instead of staying beyond the disappeared and flew home to Pa- reach of the law, Father Dominic kistan. He told The News that he moved to countries where extradiContinued from Page 1A
Here are key dates in the global odyssey of Father Dominic, who has served as a priest in three countries since fleeing child molestation charges in London.
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Full name: Yusaf Dominic Possible aliases: Yousef Dominic, Yousaf Dominic, Yousuf Dominic, Joseph Dominic, and all of these in reverse; most recently known as Father Dominic Yousuf Date of birth: June 22, 1950 (also claims birthdate of June 22, 1956) to Pakistan. Recently, he told The Dallas Morning News that British authorities returned his passport to him when he got out of jail; authorities decline to comment. Late 1990s – The priest moves to the New York area and applies, unsuccessfully, for church positions in the United States. 2000 or 2001 – Father Dominic returns to Pakistan and works at the Multan Diocese cathedral. Summer 2002 – After going back to the New York area, the priest works in the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. Late 2003 to present – Father Dominic moves to northern Italy and works in the Diocese of Savona-Noli. He works as assistant pastor in Albissola Marina and leads a small parish in the nearby village of Ellera.
The Dallas Morning News spent a year tracking the international movement of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse. Reporters traveled extensively and conducted hundreds of interviews, reviewed thousands of church and law enforcement documents, and built a database with more than 200 cases.
1974 – He is ordained a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lahore, Pakistan. Late 1970s – He begins periodic trips to London and does temporary church work in the Westminster Archdiocese. Mid-1980s – Father Dominic studies in Rome and does temporary work in the New York City and London areas. December 1996 – He is arrested while serving at a London church and charged with molesting two young boys years earlier at another parish in the Westminster Archdiocese. A fellow priest bails him out of jail. Church officials send him to a clergy treatment center in rural England. Early 1997 – Father Dominic jumps bail and flies home
Nearly half of the more than 200 cases we identified involve clergy who tried to elude law enforcement. About 30 remain free in one country while facing ongoing criminal inquiries, arrest warrants or convictions in another. Most runaway priests remain in the church, the world’s largest organization, so they should be easier to locate than other fugitives. Instead, Catholic leaders have used international transfers to thwart justice, a practice that poses far greater challenges to law enforcement than the domestic moves exposed in the 2002 scandal. Police and prosecutors, however, often fail to take basic steps to catch fugitive priests. Church discipline, such as the U.S. bishops’ new policy, doesn’t keep all offenders out of ministry. Dozens of priests who are no longer eligible to work in this country have found sanctuary abroad.
“They have really devastated all my priesthood. I’m just a helpless person.”
1. London, ENGLAND
3. New York 5. Newark, NJ
6. Albissola Marina, ITALY
PAKISTAN 2. Lahore 4. Multan
SOURCES: Church records; Dallas Morning News research
tion would have been routine — first the United States and later Italy. He left Pakistan after Lahore Archdiocese leaders barred him from ministry, Archbishop Saldanha said. By 1999, he was living in the New York City area and trying to get American dioceses to hire him. Los Angeles and Brooklyn were among those that refused, citing vaguely negative reports from Lahore. The Rev. John J. Brown, Brooklyn’s clergy personnel director, said the Lahore Archdiocese did not reveal that there was a criminal case in London. Lahore church leaders knew of its existence, according to a British church official’s letter to one of Father Dominic’s accusers. Monsignor Brown said Father Dominic did mention the case but said it had been dismissed and he had been exonerated. He said he did not check the priest’s claims with authorities. Hearing details this week about Father Dominic’s case was “disturbing,” Monsignor Brown said. He said the U.S. church must rely on foreign bishops to be open and honest about their priests who come to this country to work. After striking out in the United States, Father Dominic returned to his native Pakistan. Archbishop Saldanha said he worked at a Muslim school in Lahore and then found a Catholic leader who would take him in another part of Pakistan: Bishop Andrew Francis,
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leader of the Multan Diocese. The priest became pastor of the Multan cathedral, “not with our permission,” Archbishop Saldanha said. But after a while, Bishop Francis sent the priest back to Lahore. “There was some personal animosity,” said the archbishop, who added that he knew no details. Bishop Francis could not be reached for comment. Next Father Dominic tried his luck in America again. And this time, he succeeded: The Newark Archdiocese put him to work in summer 2002, shortly after U.S. bishops passed a “zero tolerance” sexual abuse policy during their annual meeting in Dallas. He was stationed at St. Francis of Assisi in Ridgefield Park on instructions from archdiocese headquarters, said Father Field, the priest who worked with him. He said he did not know who gave the instructions.
But the Newark archdiocesan office that oversees visiting priests said it had no record of Father Dominic. The Rev. William Fadrowski, who was executive director of clergy personnel in 2002, said he had never heard of the priest and didn’t understand how he could have been allowed to work at St. Francis. “It’s very, very abnormal,” Monsignor Fadrowski said. Newark Archbishop John Myers said he, too, did not recognize Father Dominic’s name and called his presence in a parish “odd.” “It certainly is not according to our policies and expectations,” he said. Archbishop Saldanha, head of the priest’s home diocese in Pakistan, initially said he thought Father Dominic was living at the New Jersey church “on a private visit” and was not exercising his ministry. Archbishop Myers did not ask whether the priest should be allowed to function, Archbishop Saldanha said. In a later interview, however, he said he had received a background check form from Newark but did not complete and return it. Archbishop Saldanha also said that Father Dominic had occasionally said Mass while at St. Francis but that he was “not doing any pastoral work … not dealing with people.” Father Dominic left St. Francis after about two months, according
REPORTERS: Brendan M. Case, Reese Dunklin and Brooks Egerton STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS: Erich Schlegel, Cheryl Diaz Meyer and Mona Reeder GRAPHIC ARTIST: Sergio Peçanha DESIGNER: Rob Schneider COPY EDITOR: Becky Williams NEWS ASSISTANT: Javier García PHOTO EDITORS: Jodie Steck and Chris Wilkins PROJECT EDITOR: Pam Maples
to Father Field, who said he thought the priest had returned to his home country because of problems with his religious worker’s visa. It isn’t clear where Father Dominic went after Newark. But by last October, he was living along northern Italy’s Riviera, working in the quaint beach town of Albissola Marina and up in the hills at Ellera. In announcing the priest’s appointment, the Savona-Noli Diocese newsletter described him as a friend of the bishop, the Rev. Domenico Calcagno.
See BISHOP Page 13A
A friend of the bishop
MONA REEDER/Staff Photographer
The Rev. Yusaf Dominic has been serving in the quaint beach town of Albissola Marina and up in the hills in the nearby village of Ellera along northern Italy’s Riviera since last October.