From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Sexual abuse accusations strike six who served as priests in Spokane Diocese
Four barred from priestly ministry; two previously resigned

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the Nov. 14. 2002 edition of the Inland Register)

Photos

  • Reinard Beaver
  • Theodore Bradley
  • Arthur Mertens
  • Patrick O’Donnell
  • James O’Malley
  • Benno Oosterman
    (IR file photos)

    On Oct. 23, Bishop Skylstad released the names of six priests of the Spokane Diocese who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

    With their names and photos, the bishop released the year four of the individuals were removed from ministry. The other two individuals on the list resigned from ministry.

    The four who have been removed are Reinard Beaver (1983), Theodore Bradley (2002), Arthur Mertens (1989), and James O’Malley (1989).

    The two who have resigned are Patrick O’Donnell (in 1985) and Benno (Bernard) Oosterman (in 1980).

    The four were removed from priestly ministry in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during their meeting last June in Dallas.

    None of the six are allowed to use the title “Father,” to wear clerical attire, to function as a priest, or be identified as a priest. They may not hold any position of priestly ministry.

    All the alleged abuse incidents occurred at least 13 years ago, “and action was taken to remove these men from ministry when the diocese became aware of the allegations,” said Bishop Skylstad last month. “These cases have been turned over to local law enforcement authorities.”

    The bishop added, “I encourage victims of sexual abuse to contact our Assistance Coordinator, Gene DiRe, or Father Steve Dublinski.” Father Dublinski is vicar general of the Diocese of Spokane.

    DiRe can be contacted at 358-4269, or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 466-0220, ext. 203.

    Father Dublinski can be reached at 358-7303.

    “I especially appeal to the Catholic community and to the broader community to have empathy and compassion for victims and their families, as well as for the offenders and their families,” said Bishop Skylstad. “As a Catholic community of faith we strongly believe in the healing power of God. The Gospel summons us to find the grace of God even in the midst of evil, suffering and tragedy.”

    Reinard Beaver, 73, attended Walla Walla High School and St. Edward Seminary in Kenmore, Wash., before ordination to the priesthood at St. Patrick Church, Walla Walla, on May 19, 1956.

    He served briefly at St. Augustine Parish, Spokane, before becoming a U.S. Army chaplain in 1960.

    He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1983.

    Theodore Bradley, 76, was ordained to the priesthood Aug. 15, 1958.

    He served as an assistant pastor in five parishes of the diocese: St. Patrick, Walla Walla (August 1958-August 1960), St. Augustine, Spokane (August 1960-August 1961), the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane (August 1961-August 1963), St. Francis Xavier, Spokane (August 1963-August 1966), and St. John Vianney, Spokane (August 1966-August 1969).

    As a pastor, he served the parishes in Brewster and Twisp (August 1969-July 1972). He was named pastor of St. Joseph in Spokane in 1972.

    In 1977 he became pastor of the parishes in Ritzville, Lind, and Washtucna. In 1983 the Sprague parish was added to that list.

    For many years he volunteered as archivist for the diocese.

    He retired in 1995.

    Arthur Mertens, 78, was ordained a priest May 26, 1949.

    He was assistant pastor of St. Augustine Parish (August 1949-August 1951) and Sacred Heart Parish (August 1951-August 1956), Spokane, when he was named Diocesan Director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.

    In May 1957 he was named pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Cheney, where he served through July 1961, when he was assigned to the diocese’s mission in Guatemala.

    In August 1974 he was given the title “monsignor.

    He left the diocese for work in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement in Dallas, Texas, in 1977, but returned as a member of the pastoral team serving the parishes in Pasco, Connell and Eltopia in August 1978.

    He was named spiritual director of the English-language Cursillo movement in July 1980. At the same time he became associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Spokane.

    In 1981 he was named pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Walla Walla.

    He retired June 1, 1989.

    James O’Malley, 83, was ordained June 2, 1946.

    He was assistant pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes from April 1947 through August 1949, when he became assistant pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Chewelah.

    That was followed by two assignments as pastor: St. Anthony Parish, Newport (August 1952-September 1958) and St. Mary of the Rosary, Chewelah (September 1958-September 1962).

    He returned to the Cathedral as an assistant pastor in September 1962.

    He became pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, Rosalia, and St. Catherine Parish, Oakesdale, in November 1965.

    In August 1969 he moved as pastor to St. John Vianney Parish, Spokane. On July 1, 1980, he was named pastor of St. Paschal Parish, Spokane.

    He retired in June of 1989.

    Patrick O’Donnell, 60, was ordained May 29, 1971.

    He was named assistant pastor of St. Peter Parish, Spokane, in September 1971.

    In January 1972 he was named assistant director of diocesan youth activities, and in April of that year, diocesan Scout chaplain.

    He received a temporary assignment as assistant pastor of St. Augustine Parish, Spokane, in June 1973, and in September of that year moved to St. Mary Parish, Spokane, again as an assistant pastor.

    The following August he became assistant pastor of Assumption Parish, Spokane.

    At the end of 1978 he moved to Seattle for study, an internship at Family Counseling Services, and ministry at St. Paul Church.

    In September 1979 he returned to the Spokane Diocese. He was named pastor of the parishes in Rosalia, Oakesdale and Garfield.

    He became pastor of St. John Vianney Parish, Spokane, in May 1985. In mid-November that year he was replaced as pastor.

    Benno (Bernard) Oosterman, 74, was ordained May 10, 1956.

    He was assistant pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Spokane (August 1956-August 1959), Holy Family Parish, Clarkston (August 1959-August 1961) and St. Patrick Parish, Pasco (August 1961-September 1966).

    He then was named pastor of the parishes in Wellpinit, Hunters, Ford, and West End.

    In May 1971 he moved as pastor to the parishes in Wilbur and Coulee Dam, where he served until June 1975. At that time he was named associate director of the diocese’s retreat apostolate.

    In August 1978 he was released to the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska; on Feb. 18, 1980, he resigned.


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