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Catholic Diocese of Birmingham names North Alabama priests accused of sexually abusing minors

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham released a list of names of priests accused of sexually abusing minors.  The press release is asking anyone with new information to come forward.

The list does not include where the accused clergy served or the allegations against them.

  • Charles V. Cross
    • Ordained in 1960, removed from ministry in 1985, forced to retire without privileges in 2002
  • John J. (Jack) Ventura
    • Ordained in 1968, transferred to Diocese of Birmingham in 1974, removed from ministry after allegations received in 1985
  • Charles Bordenca (died 2017)
    • Ordained in 1955, removed from ministry in Diocese of Birmingham in 1989
  • Kevin Cooke
    • Ordained in 1978, removed from ministry in 2002
  • Jonathan (John) Franklin
    • Ordained in 1956, removed from ministry in the mid 1980s
  • Roger Lott
    • Ordained in 1954, removed from ministry in 1997

In a statement, Bishop Robert J. Baker explained steps the Diocese has taken to prevent similar incidents, including awareness training and background checks.

“We will not tolerate such sexual abuse. We condemn it. We will continue to remain vigilant. We invite those who wish to participate in any of our programs to contact us. Your help will be greatly appreciated. Finally, we will continue to pray for all those affected in any way. We pray individuals will have the courage to come forward with their stories and seek help with the pain they may still be suffering. May God guide our efforts to protect all those committed to our care.”

Baker stated previous actions taken by former Bishop David Foley, which included convening a Diocesan Review Board and visiting the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville. According to Baker, Foley also held public listening sessions, forwarding each allegation to the Review Board for an independent investigation, a process which, according to Baker, is still being followed.

The Diocese encourages anybody with new information to contact Deacon Frank Slapikas at (205) 242-3954 or general counsel John F. Whitaker at (205) 776-7118.

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