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A priest who has served at several Catholic churches in the Phoenix area has been indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury on several charges for allegedly sexually abusing two young boys between 2003 and 2007. 74-year-old Father John “Jack” Dallas Spaulding faces six felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one felony count of molestation of a child.
Spaulding was a priest at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Cave Creek and St. Timothy’s Catholic Community in Mesa at the time of the alleged abuse. He has also served as a priest at several other churches in the area, including:
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix was aware of the allegations, according to a statement released by the organization. The statement said that Spaulding was placed on administrative leave in June 2011 following “an investigation and determination that an allegation…was credible.” Spaulding was a priest at St. Timothy’s at this time.
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The statement went on to state that “The Diocese received a report in June 2019 from an adult male who alleged that Spaulding sexually abused him as a minor. The Diocese contacted law enforcement officials regarding the allegation and encouraged the family to contact law enforcement to make a formal report.”
This indictment is not the first time that Spaulding has been accused of child sexual abuse. He faced at least four allegations in 2011. According to a report from The Republic that year, the Diocese of Phoenix waited at least a year before investigating the first allegation against him and deciding it was credible, resulting in his suspension and placement on leave.
In October 2011, the diocese issued a community notification statement announcing that the Spaulding had abused victims who were under 13 years old in the 1970s and 1980s.
Spaulding was also named in a 2012 civil lawsuit filed by a man who alleged that his son had been sexually abused by Spaulding. However, this lawsuit was dismissed two years later.
In 2014, a Catholic Church Special Tribunal determined that Spaulding was guilty of “sins against the Sixth Commandment with a minor.” Following this determination, the tribunal recommended that Spaulding be dismissed from clerical duties.
The Catholic Church has faced widespread allegations of sexual abuse by priests and other clergy members in all corners of the globe. According to an estimate from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, there were 16,787 reports of sexual abuse by priests between 1950 and 2012. The true number of cases is likely much higher, as this total only accounts for reports that the organization has deemed “credible.” Furthermore, countless other survivors have likely not come forward to report the trauma they’ve suffered due to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
Thousands of survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church have fought back by taking legal action against the churches in which they were abused. These survivors allege that the church has mishandled the sexual abuse crisis and that countless victims could have been spared the trauma of abuse if not for negligence by the Catholic Church.
There have been over 3,000 sex abuse lawsuits filed against the Catholic Church since the 1950s, with a total of more than $3 billion in settlements and lawsuit verdicts paid out by the church. These numbers continue to rise as more and more victims begin to come forward and file lawsuits against the church.
At Abuse Guardian, our team of Arizona sex abuse lawyers has dedicated their careers to helping survivors find justice for the trauma they’ve suffered. Founding partner Brian Kent is a former sex crimes prosecutor who has now transitioned to civil law, representing victims directly in civil lawsuits against sexual predators and negligent third parties that have enabled them, including the Catholic Church and other religious organizations.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse by a religious clergy member or someone else in a position of trust, you can learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation.