Ongoing coverage of sex crimes in the Catholic Church
Tony Rodrigue admits to 5 victims a year in 20 years, 2 prison terms, rehab with the Paracletes in SB, yet in 2003 the diocese did not know his name
By Kay Ebeling
What organization in America is allowed to systematically obstruct justice? Margaret Schettler tried for the entire year of 2003 to light a match under the San Bernardino diocese, and could not even get the last name of a serial perpetrator, a pedophile priest who’d been convicted twice as a child molester.
When I put up The Paraclete Documents last week, we reported there may have had another Paraclete center in the San Bernardino area, as well. An email came minutes after saying: “It was in Cherry Valley.” Then she emailed that twice convicted pedophile priest Tony Rodrigue’s assignment history includes a stay in 1983 at an “Outside Institution” at 39100 Orchard, Cherry Valley, CA 92405.
A phone call to the emailer, Margaret Schettler, uprooted another reason we need Senate or Congressional hearings on pedophile priests in the Catholic Church: Obstruction of Justice. It took Margaret Schettler a year to get the last name of a priest the church knew was a predator as far back as 1979.
Systematically the church refused to give out names of known pedophile priests.
In the case of Anthony Rodgrigue, the diocese outreach director had to have known the church practically fed altar boys to this particular problem priest for years, including his stays at recovery centers in New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Cherry Valley CA. Rodrigue preyed in the area east and south of LA that is now called the inland empire,
“I knew if I knew about this guy in the seventies, it must have been pretty bad,” Schettler said, “but I couldn't remember his last name."
For one whole year the outreach director at the diocese of San Bernardino told Margaret Schettler he had no idea what priest she was talking about.
Rodrigue is the priest in the news report from 1979 scanned in at right (click to enlarge and read). Up to the 1970s areas like Coachella Valley and Calexico where the diocese transferred around Rodrigue, were way out in the desert, little towns, typical breeding grounds and festering territory for the church to send its pedophile priests.
“It took me a year to get his last name, I spent so much time doing research and then found out that the diocese had known all along,” said Schettler, who is a priest sex crime victim advocate, in LA. “I think they always knew but they weren’t telling me,” Schettler said. Until she did enough research to file a 7-page report. Then the diocese told her Yes, they knew the name of the priest.
And “he had been arrested in fact,” she finally learned.
“When I got the name, I went online and found the newspaper article from the late 90s where he describes four or five kids a year.”
Actually it was five or six children that Rodrigue admitted to having sex with a year:
EXAMINER: Until the time that you stopped actively being a priest, how many boys would you say you had contact with during all that time that you had trouble dealing with? Best guess.
MR. RODRIGUE: Best guess? I would say around five or six per year.
In context, they are discussing boys Rodrigue “screwed.”
That's the word he uses for it in a Lie Detector test from May 1997.
City of Angels has the transcript of the lie detector test and will run a post with more direct quotes next blog entry.
Again. What organization in America is allowed to systematically obstruct justice? Margaret Schettler tried for the entire year of 2003 to get the last name of the priest who had raped altar boys all over the inland emplire, and the San Bernardino diocese would not even give her his last name. Tony Rodrigue was a serial pedophile since at least 1969, who’d been convicted twice as a child molester.
The SB diocese told Schettler they did not know of a Father Tony in Coachella who had problems with children.
The Catholic Church knew since the 1970s that Tony Rodrigue had a problem with sexual attraction to children.
HOW DID Margaret Schettler know about Tony Rodrigue in the 1970s?
Margaret: When I went to work at the parish, there were two priests that were co-pastoring the parish. One told me immediately after introducing me to Rodrigue.
He told me right away the guy was there to wait to go to a treatment center because he was molesting kids. When I’d be in the rectory ther would be kids coming to the door, always asking for Father Tony.
It started to happen soon and he was standing in the background of where I was answering the door, I mean I just knew that this guy wasn’t supposed to see kids and here he was coming to the door and coming out to meet them.
He had a little truck with a camper and he was taking the kids out hanging out with them, away from the parish.
There were a couple times the priest came through and said Father Tony is taking kids out in his truck again.
A couple times.
When Rodrigue left, I said, to the other priest who co-parished there, Oh he’s gone to his treatment center. The other priest said what are you talking about like he was already denying it.
In late 2003, after a lot of prodding the diocese finally started to reach out to victims, sort of, as reported here:
Congregation learns former priest in jail
The Desert Sun
By Lois Gormley
December 29th, 2003
COACHELLA -- Representatives from the Diocese of San Bernardino visited Our Lady of Soledad this weekend to advise parishioners that a former priest who once spent time at the church is now serving a 10-year sentence for child molestation.
ME: Still trying to minimize the story or the issue, the San Bernardino diocese responded:
“Rodrigue’s conviction stems from the molestation of a child in the 1990s, well after he had left the church” is how Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church Diocese in San Bernardino, was quoted in local press.
The first time Margaret Schettler called the diocese outreach director, “The first question out of his mouth was if I was going to file a lawsuit against the diocese of San Bernardino. I just had one goal, to find the victims."
She says she’s haunted by the idea that all those boys interacted with Rodrigue, in just the short time she worked at the church in Soledad.
“Monsignor Lopez presented himself as not knowing,” Schettler said of the outreach director. “He was just trying to throw me off. During a 10 month period, I was checking internet, reading articles and following the story and learning the pattern.
Today Margaret is Religious Education Director, which puts her in charge of Virtus, at Our Lady of Grace on White Oak and Ventura in Encino.
“We've had listening sessions, we had the survivors, quilt, my pastor has been very involved,” she said.
When asked what she thinks the church needs to do Schettler said:
“They need to move themselves out of the center. It’s not about survivors coming back to the church, if anybody needs to come back on their knees with humility it’s the church.
One of the things with the Rodrigue case I asked Msgr. Lopez shouldn't you be going to the parishes where he served for 29 years.
He was an active priest 20 years.
He admits he raped up to five young boys, usually altar boys a year.
Monsignor Lopez’s response was according to Schettler was, we've already done enough.
Shettler did what she could, leafleting with SNAP, interacting with the sheriff and DA, she even wrote a 7-page report and sent it to the San Bernardino diocese, still not sure of the name of the priest who was molesting young boys in Coachella in the 1970s.
Finally the San Bernardino diocese identified the predator priest: Anthony Rodrigue, and in December 2003, nearly a year after Margaret first called the priest at the diocese in charge of victim outreach, started contacting parishes where he’d served.
They did nothing to find victims until December 2003.
I doubt they're doing much more.
I tried to contact the leader of Inland Empire SNAP, who I believe was also one of Rodrigue’s victims. After we had a short conversation, where he said he’d speak to me later, he now does not return my calls or emails.
That is what happens almost every time I contact a SNAP leader from around the country. They stop calling back after the first call.
Margaret says Anthony Rodrigue is like a Birmingham in numbers of his victims.
“The numbers of lawsuits related to Rodrigue are not reflective of the numbers of his victims.... I really wonder why this particular case did not spark more interest. It would be so instructive to explain the workings behind the scenes in the chancery offices spanning multiple bishops and 2 dioceses.”
WE NEED AN INVESTIGATION.
City of Angels needs a car, or at least a budget to rent a car, and get out to the Inland Empire and find people.
Quote from news 2005 articles:
By Michael Fisher
The Press-Enterprise [California]
August 11, 2005
Former Inland priest Edward Anthony Rodrigue said he met with San Diego's bishop in 1976 to discuss a letter from 10 parents who accused the parish cleric of sexually abusing altar boys, according to papers filed in federal court this week.
At least 19 men have sued the San Diego or San Bernardino dioceses, alleging that as boys, they were molested by Rodrigue in the 1960s and 1970s at churches in Calexico, Barstow, El Centro, Encinitas, Heber and Ontario.
Rodrigue is serving a 10-year sentence in state prison after he pleaded no contest in 1998 to molesting an 11-year-old Highland boy
ME: THIS IS THE JOHN DOE FROM THE LIE DETECTOR TRANSCRIPT
Which will be quoted in an upcoming post.
WHERE IS RODRIGUE TODAY?
“His brother Tom Rodrigue was travelled down here to meet Tony when he got out of prison and he was careful to keep Tony away from kids,” said an attorney connected to the case.
The ex-priest Rodrigue “was put into a halfway house program and his brother Tom is paying for the global positioning system to keep him monitored,” the attorney said.
Margaret told me, “When I’d be in the rectory there’d be kids coming to the door asking for Father Tony."
MARGARET: It happened soon after I started work there. And he was standing in the background of where I was answering the door, I mean I just knew that this guy wasn’t supposed to see kids and here he was coming to the door and coming out and meeting them.”
I went to Father Tony and I said, you invited him and you tell him you can’t see children.
I was too young to understand even the ramifications
When I was in Coachella there was another one that I met
Who is now in the diocese of Tijuana
Who was also accused
Here is his assignment history of Anthony Rodrigue as Schettler has gathered it
1963 - La Jolla - Mary Star of the Sea
1964 “ “
1965 - Lakeside - Our Lady of Perpetual Help
1966 - “ “
1967 - Encinitas - St. Johns
1968 - Calexico - Our Lady of Guadalupe
1969 “ “
1970 “ “
1971 “ “
1972 - directory not available
1973 - Name not listed
1974 - Name not listed
1975 - Name not listed
1976 - El Centro - Our Lady of Guadalupe
1977 - Name not listed
1978 - Ontario - St. George
1979 - Ontario - St. George
1980 - Name not listed
1981 - Name not listed
1982 - Loma Linda - St. Joseph the Worker
1983 - “Outside Institution” 39100 Orchard, Cherry Valley, CA 92405
1884 “ “ “
1985 “ “ “
1986 - directory not available
1987 - “Retired” 32350 Acacia #2, San Bernardino, CA 92405
1988 - “ “ “
1989 - “ “ “
1990 - not listed
1991 - not listed
NEXT: Words right out of the mouth of Tony Rodrigue, quotes from his lie detector transcript test coming in about a day maybe less.
Readers, I can’t tell you how bizarre it is to write these stories and then go to work on shows like Greatest American Dog and Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Wrestling competition.
It’s just part of my weird life.
ONGOING COVERAGE of sex crimes in the Catholic Church is at http://cityofangels4.blogspot.com OR for dial-up etc.: http://cityofangels13.blogspot.com
Wordsmith working in TV production in Los Angeles. Also free lance journalist with an active blog. Old enough to have demonstrated against the Vietnam War but still young enough to dance.