Another Valley priest indicted for molesting kids - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Another Valley priest indicted for molesting kids

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Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2003 2:52 pm | Updated: 1:38 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Another priest who once worked in the Valley has been indicted on child molestation charges.

The Rev. Joseph J. Henn, who was indicted July 24 on 13 counts, joins two priests with East Valley links as international fugitives.

Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley said Tuesday in announcing the indictment that Henn is still a priest and believed to be in Rome.

Henn, formerly of St. Mark's Catholic Church in Phoenix, is accused of molesting three boys ages 11, 13 and 15 from June 1979 until June 1981.

The two other fugitive priests indicted after a one-year investigation into sexual misconduct within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix are the Revs. Patrick O. Colleary, formerly of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale, and Joseph Briceno, formerly of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chandler. Colleary is believed to be in Ireland. Briceno is believed to be in Mexico.

The investigation has led to nine indictments and one conviction. A previous indictment of Colleary ended with his case being dismissed and his release from jail after statute of limitations problems.

Romley said the process of extraditing the three priests is moving slowly through the U.S. State Department, and his requests to the Vatican to speed things up were spurned.

Romley wrote the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, in June asking that he use the vows of obedience that priests must follow to get Colleary and Briceno to turn themselves in.

An inspector with the Vatican's postal service wrote back: "The item, here enclosed, is returned to the sender because refused by the rightful addressee. Best regards." "This is an issue that is really significant to the church, and Rome, the Vatican, needs to respond and give clear leadership. And this wasn't a very positive sign in my eyes," Romley said.

Romley said he expressed his frustrations to Archbishop Michael Sheehan, leader of the Phoenix Diocese who took over for Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien in June.

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