Another Allegation of Sex Abuse in the Church

May 2010

If you're losing count of the number of Catholic priests who have worked in Colorado churches and been implicated in a sex-abuse case this year, the answer is three. Seventy-five-year-old Father Dorino DeLazzer, who in 2005 retired as pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Boulder, has been placed on administrative leave from the Archdiocese in Denver because of a sex-abuse allegation dating to the 1970s. A criminal inquiry is underway, but it's been slowed by questions over whether a statute giving victims just three years to report a crime was in effect at the time of the alleged assault, according to The Denver Post. The statute is no longer in effect, but could apply to the case. Archbishop Charles Chaput explains in a statement why DeLazzer was placed on leave: "On May 7, I received a credible allegation against him for past sexual misconduct with a minor" (via 9News). "It is important to remember that this is the first allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that the archdiocese has received against Father De Lazzer. It concerns events from more than 30 years ago, and every accused person has the right to be presumed innocent." DeLazzer worked in a long list of parishes over the years: St. Pius X in Aurora from 1973 to 1974; St. James in Denver from 1974 to 1976; Spirit of Christ in Arvada from 1976 to 1981; All Saints in Denver from 1981 to 1984; St. Mary in Greeley from 1984 to 1991; and St. Michael in Craig from 1991 to 1999. Recently, Chaput dismissed the Reverend Melvin Thompson following a complaint of sexual abuse that allegedly occurred more than 35 years ago in an undisclosed Colorado parish, and a lawsuit has been filed by a “John Doe” plaintiff naming the Reverend Mark Matson, who worked as the rector at St. Andrew’s Seminary, in a sex-abuse claim.

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