Allegation of sexual misconduct in Denver lodged against retired Capuchin
March 25, 2016
DENVER — Leadership for the Province of St. Conrad of the Capuchin Franciscans, headquartered in Denver, recently informed Salina Diocesan leadership that a new allegation of sexual misconduct has been lodged against Capuchin Father Bennett Colucci, a retired member of the Capuchin order.
The alleged misconduct was recently reported to Capuchin leadership by a woman in Colorado who asserts that she was assaulted by Father Colucci approximately 35 years ago when she was a 17-year-old student in Denver. The Capuchin order’s leadership has reached out to be of assistance to the woman who made the report.
FATHER COLUCCI was withdrawn from ministry in Colorado in 1993 due to allegations of misconduct. Following professional assessment and treatment, he was assigned to reside with the Capuchin friars at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria.
Father Colucci was never permitted to do parish or school ministry in the Salina Diocese, but Bishop George Fitzsimons, with recommendation from the Capuchin leadership, permitted Father Colucci a limited hospital ministry in Hays until Father Colucci’s full retirement in 2005.
“It should be noted that there have been no past or current allegations of misconduct against Father Colucci in the Salina Diocese,” Bishop Edward Weisenburger said.
Father Colucci continues to reside privately at the Capuchin friary in Victoria where he is reported in poor health.
Bishop Weisenburger said the Capuchin order and the Diocese of Salina are in full compliance with the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
“THIS PAINFUL AND regrettable news is an occasion to reiterate our very sincere desire that anyone harmed by Church personnel should immediately report the matter to the Salina Diocesan Office of Safety and Security Hotline at (785) 825-0865 so that we can offer assistance with healing and reconciliation. We urge anyone who has knowledge of any child sexual abuse to come forward, and to report it immediately to civil authorities, in accord with Salina Diocesan policy,” Bishop Weisenburger said.
“I kindly ask that the people of our diocese remember all those harmed by sexual abuse in their prayers. I also ask that we remain vigilant in maintaining a truly safe church environment for all people, especially our children,” the bishop added.