FACT SHEET: The DC Archdiocese’s Most Dangerous Dozen Child Molesting Clerics
These are proven, admitted &/or credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics who are or were in the Washington DC archdiocese but are NOT on its 'credibly accused' list (as of 8/11/23).
1) Fr. Carlton Parker Jones only became publicly accused in 2019 when a child sex abuse lawsuit was filed against him in New York. According to the New York Times, he has since reportedly 'disappeared.’
Fr. Jones was raised Unitarian and Congregationalist in New Hampshire, graduated from Yale, became an Episcopal priest, joined an Anglican religious community known as the Cowley Fathers, converted to Catholicism and became a Dominican priest.
Fr. Jones also worked in Columbus OH, New Haven CT, Baltimore MD and Washington DC.
Potentially dangerous because: He's clearly well-educated, his whereabouts are unknown and he wasn't publicly outed until very recently. A Dominican official, Fr. Kenneth Letoile, purportedly 'cleared' Fr. Jones of the charges, but since then, “multiple requests to speak with (his supervisors) have been rebuffed, reports the Times. So Fr. Jones is not on any public church 'accused' lists.
2) Fr. Kenneth J. Martin was arrested in 2001 on charges of sexually abusing a Maryland boy for over two-and-a-half years. He pled guilty but negotiated a plea agreement for five years of "probation before judgment" and was not required to register as a sex offender. In 2002-2003, he worked in the Chicago Archdiocese (and lived in then-Cardinal Francis George's mansion with him).
Fr. Martin also worked in Delaware, California and Washington DC (at Our Lady of Victory Church and Theological College). He is on at least two public church lists of 'credibly accused' abusive priests (Delaware and Maryland) and is included in the 2023 Maryland Attorney General's Report.
Potentially dangerous because: He has apparently not been defrocked and has close ties with some in the church hierarchy. Given that he worked in three local dioceses, Fr. Martin might still be in the area.
3) Fr. Garrett D. Orr was ordained in 1983, accused of abuse at Georgetown Prep in 2002, on 'sabbatical for unrelated health issues' in 2003, was a Loyola University chaplain in 2004 and was reported to the police and suspended that same year.
In 2011, Fr. Orr pled guilty to abuse and was sentenced to five years’ probation and forced to register as a sex offender. He has been defrocked and is on two official church ‘credibly accused’ lists - the Maryland Province Jesuits list in 2018 and the Baltimore archdiocese's list in 2019. Earlier this year, he was included in the Maryland Attorney General's Report.
Potentially dangerous because: He was named as a proven predator just over a decade ago and only put on church ‘credibly accused’ lists in recent years. His current whereabouts are unknown. Fr. Orr belongs to a world-wide Catholic religious order with a well-documented track record of ignoring and concealing abuse and protecting, moving and re-assigning predators. So he may have been - or will be - quietly transferred and put back on the job (most likely overseas. Finally, church officials tend to defrock only especially egregious predators (as opposed to the clerics who are caught molesting two or three times).
4) Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of the West Virginia diocese was ordained in 1971 for the Philadelphia Archdiocese. He was first publicly accused of child sexual abuse in sworn testimony during a trial involving two other alleged wrongdoer clerics. In 2019, he was sued for allegedly abusing a nine-year-old girl Washington DC at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in 2012.
In 2018, he resigned after Pope Francis ordered an investigation into allegations that he committed financial misdeeds and sexually harassed young adults (often seminarians). In 2019, his ministry was restricted and in 2022 he was sued by his former personal altar server and secretary who reported that Bishop Bransfield sexually harassed him for years and sexually assaulted him in 2014.
In 2019, Catholic officials admitted that he sexually harassed young priests and misused funds, including giving large sums of money to cardinals, bishops and priests over the years. In 2018, Pope Francis deemed Bishop Bransfield’s misconduct so severe that he ordered the bishop to make amends and banned him from living in his former diocese or celebrating mass in public.
The most recent civil abuse lawsuit was filed against him in 2019 by a seminarian.
Potentially dangerous because: He was publicly accused of abuse just ten years ago and his most recent reported offense was just 11 years ago. Bishop Bransfield is clearly a well-connected, charismatic and powerful individual, having risen to become a bishop and having contributed considerable sums to high-ranking Catholic officials in the US and in Rome.
5) Br. Mathew Miles who was convicted of sodomizing young boys in Washington DC and claimed he spent 20 years in a Sex Addicts Anonymous program. He also admitted abusing at least one child at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain South Dakota. In 2007, that victim, Roger Rodriguez, filed a lawsuit alleging that Br. Miles sexually abused him from ages 7-10.
Potentially dangerous because: Little is known about Br. Miles, including his current whereabouts. His case attracted very little mainstream media attention. He belongs to a small, little-known Wisconsin-based religious order called The Priests of the Sacred Heart (with 100 US clerics) that refuses to disclose or post the names of its child molesting clerics. (At least nine of its members are publicly accused of abuse.)
6) Fr. George A. Stallings, Jr. was ordained in 1974 and excommunicated in 1990. Beginning in the 1980s, he was accused of abusing at least three teenagers, refused an order to go to treatment and formed his own breakaway congregation. In 2019, a child sex abuse lawsuit against him settled for $125,000.
At one point, he also reportedly became involved with Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon.
Potentially dangerous because: He's reportedly quite charismatic, widely respected, has built and maintained his own following for years and "has been a figure in city politics." As head of his own independent church (the Imani Temple African American Catholic Congregation), he essentially answers to and is supervised by no one. He is on no Catholic ‘credibly accused’ lists. Now married, he has two sons.
7) Fr. Geoffrey A. Brooke was ordained in 2015 and was put on leave in 2019 due to allegations of “boundary violations with minors” in Missouri. As best SNAP can tell, he’s not been re-assigned to a church position anywhere. His bishop reportedly "forwarded the matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome, an office that reviews cases and disciplines clergy." As of 2021, it "had not come to a determination."
Before being ordained, he worked in Washington DC for Catholic News Service.
Potentially dangerous because: He's young, has worked in a school, has no criminal record, is NOT on any church 'credibly accused' list and is thus completely 'under the radar.' (His whereabouts are unknown.) In SNAP’s experience, clerics accused of ‘boundary violations’ are among the most likely to be given ‘a second chance’ by Catholic officials, especially if they are relatively young.
8) Fr. Alfredo Sobalvarro, a native of Guatemala, was ordained in 1971 for the Washington DC archdiocese. But he apparently worked mostly in Santa Rosa California where he was put on the diocese’s public ‘credibly accused’ list in 2019. Church officials claim he has been ‘out of ministry’ since 2003.
Potentially dangerous because: Little is known about him or his crimes in part because he has attracted very little public attention or media coverage. It’s noteworthy that he was ordained in and for an east coast archdiocese but spent most of his time in a west coast diocese, an unusual work pattern that’s often typical of predator priests. His current whereabouts are unknown.
9) Br. Philip M. Spoelker (a.k.a. Brother Jude) joined the Xaverian religious order and was publicly named as a ‘credibly accused’ abuser by them in 2019. He reportedly molested a child in 1982 in Leonardtown Maryland, was sent to a church-run ‘treatment’ center and then put back in ministry.
In 2007, Br. Spoelker pled guilty to abusing a boy at St. Mary Ryken High School in Maryland in 1978 and sentenced to 18 months in prison. (However, he was paroled after just one year behind bars.) In 2009, he was to move to the Xaverian Brothers retirement home in Venice Florida where he would supposedly be monitored. That same year, he was accused of child sexual abuse again, reportedly victimizing a youngster in the late 1980s in Birmingham, Alabama.
In 2022, Br. Spoelker is shown as living as a registered sex offender at the church-run ’treatment’ center in Dittmer Missouri, a site that has drawn considerable scrutiny and criticism for being secretive and reckless, accepting particularly incorrigible serial predators from across the US and sometimes letting them leave the property with little or no supervision.
Potentially dangerous because: He was convicted of child sex crimes, abused in two states and now lives in a third (at a controversial church facility with a troubling track record on safety). Only in recent years did church officials publicly declare him ‘credibly accused’ of child sexual abuse.
10) Fr. Crescente "Sonny" Derivera, a Philippine who belongs to the Divine Word Missionaries (S.V.D.), which publicly deemed him 'credibly accused' of child sex abuse in 2021. The Chicago Archdiocese did the same in 2023, so he is on two public Catholic ‘credibly accused’ abusers lists.
According to the 2023 Illinois Attorney General’s Report, Fr. Derivera’s crimes occurred in Chile, South America in 1995 where he was assigned from 1981 to 1996. The same report noted that Fr. Derivera was ‘not reported by the archdiocese or his religious order.’
Later, he worked in Florida (2006), Washington DC (2007-2008) and Rome (2008-?).
(His first name is sometimes spelled Cresente and he sometimes goes by “Fr. Sonny.”)
Potentially dangerous because: He is or was in Rome, the literal and figurative center of the Catholic world, where thousands of devout parishioners visit annually and where clerics are still widely trusted and held in high esteem. Fr. Derivera presumably has international contacts and connections. His religious order has many clerics working "as missionaries in the developing world, where experts say the next big priest sex abuse scandal lurks." He was only recently publicly deemed ‘credibly accused’ of abuse by church officials.
11) Fr. Michael Schapfel, a native of Germany, had been working in the Washington DC area since 2004 serving German communities and diplomats. He was suddenly removed from ministry in 2010 and returned to Germany after allegations surfaced that he had molested numerous girls and young women.
Potentially dangerous because: Little is known about him, he has international connections and he has attracted very little media or public attention.
12) Fr. William C. Wert, a Carmelite who was arrested for abusing a child in Washington DC in 2007. He received 180 days in jail and five years’ probation. In 2011, he was arrested again for abusing a child.
He was living at his religious order's retirement home in Venice Florida in 2011 when he was arrested for sexually abusing another boy between 2010 and 2011. His Carmelite supervisors paid $1.75 million to settle a suit from the boys’ family.
In 2013, Fr. Wert was convicted of abuse and sentenced to life in prison (though in SNAP’s experience, predator priests usually serve only a small portion of their jail terms). At that point, the Vatican finally defrocked him.
He has since been included on at least three church ‘credibly accused’ lists (Joliet diocese, Los Angeles archdiocese and the Carmelites) and was included in the 2023 Illinois Attorney General's Report.
Fr. Wert was also in Ontario Canada, Milwaukee WI, Middletown NY, Houston TX, Encino CA and Washington DC.
Potentially dangerous because: He’s been defrocked, was convicted of child sexual abuse and jailed once, then abused, was convicted and was locked up a second time. Fr. Wert’s most recent known crime was just over a decade ago and by virtue of his frequent and far-fling assignments, he almost certainly has many contacts across two countries, most of whom are likely unaware of his crimes.
13) Fr. Arthur “Art” J. Smith was accused in 2003 of sexually assaulting a seminarian. In 2011, he was suspended due to complaints about his behavior toward an eighth grader in a Buffalo NY school. (The flock was told he was on ‘medical leave.’) A year later, the principal described Fr. Smith as “a predator and a groomer of young children” and reported that he was still visiting the school, despite his bishop’s order to stay away.
He was then sent to a church-run ‘treatment’ center. In 2013, Fr. Smith’s bishop received reports that he inappropriately touched two young men at that nursing home to which he’d been assigned the year before.
In 2015 and 2016, his bishop wrote glowing recommendations for Fr. Smith for work which would put him in contact with children. In 2018, he worked as a cruise ship chaplain.
In the 1990s, he was assigned to, and worked for years at St. Pius X parish in Bowie Maryland in the Washington DC archdiocese. Long time Maryland SNAP director Dave Lorenz (301 906 9161, [email protected]) and his wife Judy met and got to know and work with him there.
Potentially dangerous because: He’s never been criminally charged or convicted and has only recently been put on a church ‘credibly accused’ list (In Buffalo in 2018). His current whereabouts are unknown.