Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput has placed another Colorado priest on leave after what Chaput called a “credible” abuse allegation surfaced earlier this month. Fr. Dorino De Lazzer has been accused of abusing a child in the 1970s. He has served in Aurora, Denver, Arvada, Greeley, Craig and Boulder and retired as pastor of Sacred Heart in Boulder in 2005.
The case mirrors one that played out in April, when accusations emerged linking 70-something Centennial priest Mel Thompson to abuse alleged to have taken place in the 1970s.
In light of a revised stricter approach to such accusations stemming from cases that have rocked the Church in America over the past decade and amid an international sex abuse scandal that has focused attention directly on the pope, Chaput has moved fast in reaction to the accusations. Some parishoners, however, have protested that these priests should be considered innocent before proven guilty.
AP reports that this weekend Chaput said he received the ‘credible allegation’ on May 7 accusing De Lazzer of misconduct in the early 1970s, before De Lazzer served in Colorado.
Chaput recently submitted a report to the Vatican as one of its special investigators looking into the vast sexual abuse and financial corruption case centered on Legionaries of Christ founder Marcial Maciel Degollado. News of the investigation’s report suggest the findings were grave. Maciel, now dead, is suspected of having abused seminarians and to have fathered children, at least one of which he put up in a high-rent apartment with her mother in Spain. Maciel was a prodigious fundraiser and moved in elite social and church circles for decades. He enjoyed a close relationship with Pope John Paul II.