Assignment Record – Msgr. Robert C. Trupia

Summary of Case: A priest of the Tucson diocese, Robert Trupia was promoted twice during the sixteen years after the first complaint of child sexual abuse was made against him. Reports that Trupia was molesting boys were for years repeatedly dismissed by diocesan officials. Trupia held a number of chancery positions and was named "Monsignor". He was awarded a scholarship to pursue a doctorate in Canon Law from Catholic University. He taught sex education and ran a "Come and See" program for high school boys considering the priesthood. Trupia is said to have sexually abused at least 30 boys, and was nicknamed "Chicken Hawk" by other priests of the diocese due to his reputation as a child predator. He was finally suspended in 1992 after the mother of an alleged victim appealed to Santa Fe's Bishop Sanchez in a letter and sent a copy to Tucson's Bishop Moreno. Trupia threatened to expose the sexual improprieties of high-ranking Tucson diocesan officials if he wasn't allowed to retire on his own terms. The diocese later called Trupia a "notorious and serial sexual predator" and sought his laicization. He moved to Maryland and worked as a consultant for the Monterey, CA diocese; that contract was terminated in 2001, just after Trupia was arrested on charges of molesting children in AZ in the 1970s. He was jailed but released after one night due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Although he fought it for twelve years, Trupia was laicized in 2004.

Ordained: 1973
Incardinated: Tucson


   

Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1973

Tucson bishop was Francis Joseph Green (1960-1981)

1976 St. Francis

Yuma

A former St. Francis altar boy accused Trupia in a 1997 lawsuit of molesting him when he was a boy, from 1973-1974.

In another 2000 lawsuit Trupia was accused of holding a 13 year-old boy "prisoner" at St. Francis and molesting him for a week in 1975. The boy's mother had him stay with Trupia while she tended to her dying husband.

In 1976 Ted Oswald, a former police officer who was a lay brother at St. Francis was told by altar boys "what [Trupia] was doing to them". Oswald had the boys write statements, which he took to Msgr. John Anthony Oliver, who was dean of the area. The boys' families were said to have been told Trupia was being sent for treatment of pedophilia. Trupia was pulled from St. Francis and sent to another parish, Our Mother of Sorrows in Tucson.

 

AZ 2/3, 2/2, 4/4

St. Francis had a school with 271-288 students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Msgr. Oliver testified in 2000 that he forwarded a letter expressing concern about Trupia to Bishop Francis J. Green. Oliver also said he told Trupia about "a concern" but didn't ask questions because, "It's not my responsibilty to hear those things." and "...I don't care to know those things..... ." Oswald said he went to the diocese to speak with Green, who wasn't available. He spoke instead to the chancellor, Msgr. John F. Burns. He said Burns responded with , "Why are you trying to cause our priests trouble? You made up those accusations about Robert Trupia." Oswald quit the diocese in 1977.

1973 1976   Tacona AZ   Tacona was a mission of St. Francis.
1976 1981 Our Mother of Sorrows

Tucson

Trupia was one of two priests accused in a 1999 lawsuit of sexually abusing a teenage boy from 1976-1979, and with giving the boy alcohol and drugs. The other accused priest was, Rev. William T. Byrne.

In 1992 a mother told the bishop that Trupia sexually abused her altar boy son at Our Mother of Sorrows in 1977.

Trupia was accused in a 2004 lawsuit of molesting a Mother of Sorrows altar boy in 1979. The boy's mother alleged that she wrote to Bishop Moreno in 1992 and 1993, and that Moreno lied to her when he told her Trupia denied the accusatoins.

 

 

AZ

2/3, 3/3, 4/4

In residence.

Trupia taught sex education and ran a "Come and See" program for high school boys considering the priesthood.

Our Mother of Sorrows had a school with 382-483 students.

 

 



Byrne
has been the subject of multiple allegations of sexual abuse of minors. He was pastor of Mother of Sorrows.

Trupia is said to have been called "Chicken Hawk" by other priests of the diocese because he preyed on so many young boys.

According to later depositions, at least two Tucson priests who expressed concern about Trupia's behavior with boys were "told to mind their own business" by chancellor Rev. John F. Allt, and the handwritten statements by the Yuma altar boys were removed from Trupia's file.

Bishop Green sent Trupia to a Tucson psychologist for counseling in the late 1970s. Trupia denied the accusations against him.

    St. John's Seminary

Camarillo

Trupia was accused of "numerous" molestations at the seminary. A plaintiff's attorney in 2002 stated that "Priests were bringing young boys and using St. John's as a hotel."

CA Trupia hosted "Come and See" weekends here. Trupia was banned from St. John's in 1988 because he had been showing up unannounced with young men. There was also a complaint that he was seen sleeping with a young man at the seminary in 1982.

1976

Green was succeeded by Manuel Duran Moreno (1982-2003)

1992 St. Thomas the Apostle Tucson AZ   Trupia served at this parish various times between 1976 and 1992.
1976 1992 Vice Chancellor Tucson AZ Trupia continues to be listed in the Directories under his chancery positions for 1989-1992, although he was on "sabbatical" for those years.  
1976 1984 Administrative Council Tucson AZ    
1976 1992 Censor Librorum Tucson AZ    
1976 1980 Office of Due Process Tucson AZ Delegate  
1977 1980 Diocesan Consultors Tucson AZ    
1978 1992 Matrimonial Tribunal Tucson AZ Oficialis 1978-1984; Judicial Vicar 1984-1992  
1980
1982

1981
1992
Senate of Priests/Council of Priests Tucson AZ Under "Senate of Priests" in the 1981 Directory is the phrase "sede vacante".  
1981 1988 Regina Cleri Center

Tucson

Trupia was accused in another lawsuit in 2001 of sexually abusing a 17 year-old male youth in the late 1980s. His accuser had been homeless and began sleeping over with Trupia at Regina Cleri in 1987; he lived with Trupia in 1988-1989. This accuser was given a chancery job, with Trupia as his supervisor. The living situation and chancery job were said to have been in exchange for sex. This was the 10th lawsuit with accusations against Trupia.

AZ    
1987 1992 Special Assignment     The "special assignment" is noted in the 1988-1992 Directories to be the Judicial Vicar position. Rev. Joseph Baker, a Tucson priest, testified that in 1989 a police detective investigating Trupia contacted him. Baker and Bishop Moreno discussed the situation; Moreno is said to have responded with hostility, telling Baker that children might have been going to Trupia's room "to retrieve him for confessions".
1989 1992 Sabbatical Leave       Trupia received a scholarship from Catholic University in Washington, DC to pursue a PhD in canon law.
1992 1994 Absent on Leave Silver Spring MD  

Trupia was suspended in 1992 after a woman sent a letter to the archbishop of Santa Fe, Robert Sanchez, and a copy to Tucson bishop Moreno, that Trupia sexually abused her altar boy son at Our Mother of Sorrows in 1977. Trupia threatened to expose sexual improprieties of high-ranking church officials if he wasn't allowed to retire on his own terms. In particular, Trupia was referring to the late bishop of Phoenix, James Rausch. Rausch is accused of having sexually abused a 17 year-old boy in 1979, then passing the boy onto Trupia and Rev. William Byrne. The youth became addicted to heroin. Several years later Trupia helped him through recovery; he also started a sexual relationship with him, then gave him job as an assistant at the marriage tribunal. Byrne worked there, too. The young man became increasingly bothered by what he said had happened between him and the two priests and Rausch. He said he tried to speak with Morenowho wasn't receptive. He said he then spoke with Bishop Green who "asked me if I would be willing to agree to keep the story quiet so as not to cause harm to the church". Green is said to have then given the young man a full time job at the marriage tribunal. He worked there for six years.

The diocese later called Trupia "a notorious and serial" sexual predator.

1994 1995   Silver Spring MD Trupia did consulting work for the Monterey, CA diocese from 1994-2001. Trupia is not indexed in the 1995 Directory, nor is he listed under "Absent on Leave" in the Tucson diocesan pages.
1995 Oct. 2001 Absent on Leave Silver Spring MD  

A Yuma police officer investigating Trupia in 1997 said the diocese would not tell where Trupia was, even though they were sending Trupia checks.

Trupia was jailed briefly in early 2001 on charges of molesting boys in Yuma in the 1970s, but was released because the charges violated the criminal statue of limitations.

Trupia had been living in Silver Spring for nearly a decade as of 2001.

Oct. 2001

Moreno was replaced by Gerald Frederick Kicanas (2003-)

2004 Absent on Leave Ellicott City MD  

Trupia was found by a reporter in Feb. 2003 to have been living in Ellicott City, MD, in a condo owned by a Msgr. Charles G. Fatooh, of the Monterey CA diocese. Neighbors said Trupia was seen with "young men", whom they assumed were Trupia's sons.

Trupia was laicized in 2004. He had fought laicization for 12 years.

 

Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1974-2004)

Suit Names Diocese in Abuse Case, By Pamela Hartman, Tucson Citizen, April 15, 1999
Diocese Targeted in Molest Suits, By Joyesha Chesnick, Tucson Citizen, January 11, 2000
Diocese Breaks Silence on Abuse, By Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), October 6, 2001
Lawsuit, By Patty Machelor, Tucson Citizen, December 12, 2001
Diocese Settles Sex Cases with 10 Men, By Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), January 30, 2002
Catholic Church to Pay Settlement to Close Abuse Cases, By William Lobdell, Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2002
For Dioceses, Legal Toll Quietly Rises, By Alan Cooperman, Washington Post, January 30, 2002
Diocese Saw Signs, Didn't Act, By Stephanie Innes and Tim Steller, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), February 17, 2002
Special Reports: Catholic Priests and Sex Abuse, Dallas Morning News, June 12, 2002
America's Worst Bishops, Which Bishops have made the worst decisions about abusive priests?, By Laura Sheahan, Rebecca Phillips and Deborah Caldwell, Beliefnet.com, June 2002
Ariz. abuse case names bishop, 2 priests, By Michael Rezendes, Boston Globe, August 20, 2002
Man Seeks Cash from Diocese, By Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), August 24, 2002
Priest Is Still on Tucson Diocese Payroll Despite Molestation Accusations, By Stephanie Innes , Arizona Daily Star [Ellicott City MD],
Downloaded February 11, 2003
No Cutoff Date for Trupia Stipend, By Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star, Downloaded February 22, 2003
Sex-Abuse Woes Still Dog Diocese, By Stephanie Innes , Arizona Daily Star [Arizona], Downloaded December 22, 2003
26 Priests Accused of Molesting, By Gabriela Rico, Tucson Citizen, February 27, 2004
Tucson Diocese Suits Pending Now at 20, Associated Press, carried in The Arizona Republic, July 29, 2004
Pope Defrocks Tucson Priests, By Scott Simonson and Tom Beal, Arizona Daily Star, August 6, 2004
Bishop: Narrow Scope in Cases against 2 Priests, By Sheryl Kornman, Tucson Citizen (Tucson, AZ), August 7, 2004
Suspect Priests Not Monitored, By Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), July 30, 2007
Accused Priests, Diocese of Tucson, August 5, 2011



Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Trupia's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Sept. 8, 2012


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