Catholic Diocese of Fresno remains silent about the ‘Party Priest;’ SNAP stands in support of his victim and also wonders when the Diocese will release its promised list of abusers
A woman who worked as a cook and housekeeper for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Selma, California, has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Fresno, citing the abuse she experienced from Fr. Guadalupe Rios, former Parochial Administrator of the parish. In the complaint, the plaintiff described a sexual relationship filled with violence, alcohol, and drugs. Known locally as the ‘Party Priest,’ Fr. Rios has been identified in social media photographs brandishing assault rifles and a high power .357 magnum handgun. The clergyman was also convicted of a DUI in 2016 for driving with a blood-alcohol content of .19 percent — more than twice the legal limit.
We stand with the victim who has courageously come forward to hold the Diocese of Fresno and Fr. Rios accountable in court. It is no surprise that the Diocese is not commenting on this case, even though they obtained a restraining order against the cleric in late 2020 to keep him away from the Selma Parish.
Also, in June of 2021, the Diocese claimed that they were close to releasing their list of priests accused of sexual abuse. We want to know what is taking Catholic officials so long to disclose this list. The delay makes us wonder who they are protecting? It is outrageous that any Diocese is without a list of accused clerics to provide to the public. The community has been waiting for this particular list for two and a half years.
We hope that parishioners and the public will join us in demanding the truth from the Diocese of Fresno. The community should know which clerics are named abusers and where they were assigned. It is just as important to know which Catholic officials enabled abuse and are still active in leadership roles today. We call on Bishop Joseph V. Brennan to act immediately to fulfill the Diocese's promise to its faithful and to the public.