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Pope Francis said at the start of a visit to Ireland on Saturday that he shares the outrage of rank-and-file Catholics over the failure of church authorities to punish the "repugnant crimes" of priests who raped and molested children. (Aug. 25) AP

Rev. Eugene Bowski allegedly sexually abused a child in 1982 while serving in West Virginia

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FARMINGTON — A former Farmington-area priest has been added to the Diocese of Gallup’s list of priests the diocese states have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Rev. Eugene Bowski, who served at St. Mary’s Parish in Farmington in the mid-1990s, was added to the list of credibly accused in late November, according to a press release from the diocese.

In a letter included with the press release, Bishop James Wall stated that the diocese has begun publishing the names of priests and church workers who have served in the Diocese of Gallup and have had credible allegations made against them for abuse that occurred outside of the Diocese of Gallup.

The press release states the Diocese of Gallup learned on Nov. 28 that Bowski had been added to the list of credibly accused for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. While in West Virginia, he allegedly sexually abused a child in 1982.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston states a credible accusation means “there is reasonable cause to believe that an offense occurred” based on factors like time, place, age of the parties, background and history available, personnel files and other pertinent facts.

Read: Australian former archbishop Philip Wilson cleared of child sex abuse cover-up

Bowski served at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Franklin, West Virginia, from June 1980 until March 1982, according to the list released by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. The list states the alleged abuse was reported on March 25, 1982, which is the same day the list states his time ministering for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston ended.

Diocese of Gallup spokeswoman Suzanne Hammonds said the diocese is trying to learn why the diocese was not notified about the alleged abuse when Bowski was assigned to the Diocese of Gallup. She said the Diocese of Gallup asked if Bowski had any abuse allegations against him prior to Bowski coming to the diocese.

Wall barred Bowski from ministry within the diocese in 2014 after Bowski allegedly solicited an 18-year-old man for sex.

“He hasn’t been able to do any kind of public ministry since 2014,” Hammonds said.

Hammonds said because the man was an adult when Bowski allegedly solicited him for sex, Bowski was not added to the list of credibly accused. However, she said Bowski began grooming the man while he was a minor.

“We are currently in the midst of a very painful period in the Church, and there is still much work to be done in order to ensure that children and vulnerable persons are protected,” Wall said in a letter included in the press release. “Please continue to pray for survivors of abuse, and for me, as your shepherd.”

More: Is a priest accused of abuse one of your neighbors? It's up to you to find out.

Bowski served in Farmington from Sept. 1, 1995 until July 1996. He also served in Chinle, Arizona, as well as Cuba, Grants, Pinehaven and Ramah.

The Diocese of Gallup states Bowski had two assignments for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. These assignments were at St. Bernadette Parish in 2003 and as a chaplain at the University of New Mexico Hospital. He was in Albuquerque from late October 2002 until 2009.

Hammonds said if anyone knows of abuse that has taken place or is taking place, they should contact law enforcement officials. The diocese also allows people to make confidential claims to the victims assistance coordinator at 505-906-7357.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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Susan Blum of New Freedom, talks about discovering her abuser on a list of other priests who molested children. Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record

 

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