Rev. Jack Spaulding

The case of the Rev. Jack Spaulding, a former East Valley priest accused of molesting teenage boys, under review by a Vatican-based board in Rome which will ultimately decide whether to remove him from the priesthood.

The case of an East Valley priest accused of molesting teenage boys is now being reviewed by a Vatican-based board in Rome which will ultimately decide whether to remove him from the priesthood.

The Diocese of Phoenix has completed its investigation into the Rev. Jack Spaulding, the former pastor at St. Timothy's Catholic Community Church in Mesa, and forwarded the case onto the Doctrine of Faith after deeming that the allegations against Spaulding were credible. In part, the Diocese deems accusations of molestation credible if the priest served at the parish at the same time his accuser did.

In June, Spaulding, 68, resigned from St. Timothy's and the Diocese of Phoenix suspended him after a diocesan review board deemed allegations of Spaulding having a sexual relationship with a teenage boy in 1984 and 1985 as credible. Spaulding served at St. Maria Goretti Church in Scottsdale at the time of the alleged incidents. But, the alleged victim, David Pain Jr. died in June, 2010, and the case was brought to the attention of the diocese by his father. It is believed to be the first such case brought against a priest on behalf of a deceased victim,

Findings from the investigation that were reviewed by Diocesan officials for at least six months, were forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in early December. The Holy See will assess the case and evaluate the evidence, according to the Diocese of Phoenix. The Vatican's initial review of the case may be completed sometime after Lent or Easter - April 8 this year - and then sent back to the Diocese of Phoenix for a trial in the months ahead.

"The role of the Diocese of Phoenix was to transmit the facts as we know them," according to a statement from Diocese of Phoenix spokesman Rob DeFrancesco. "We do not have a timeline as to when the Holy See will reach a conclusion. It is important to note that the process and investigation remain confidential so that the integrity of the procedure is protected and to ensure fairness for those who brought the allegation, as well as Father Spaulding's right to a confidential process."

After the initial complaint against Spaulding came to light in June involving Pain Jr., three more accusers came forward to report that Spaulding had also molested them; as far back as the mid 1970s.

The most recent claims were received by the diocese in July of 2011, according to the public notification statement it released on Oct. 14. Two adult males allege that Spaulding had inappropriate sexual contact with them over 30 years ago, when they were approximately 11 and 13 years old, respectively. The men state that they met Spaulding at St. Helen Parish in Glendale, and that the misconduct occurred at a private residence. The diocese advised the men to contact the Glendale police, but they indicated that they had no interest in doing so.

If Spaulding is found guilty of the allegations by the Vatican-based board, he will be removed from the priesthood. However, Spaulding would not be facing any legal penalties as the statute of limitations has expired on all of the cases.

Spaulding was incardinated in the Diocese of Phoenix in 1971, and has served in a number of parishes since then: Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glendale, Christ the King Parish in Mesa, Santa Teresita Parish in El Mirage, St. Louis the King Parish in Glendale, St. Raphael Parish in Glendale, St. Helen Parish in Glendale, St. Maria Goretti Parish in Scottsdale, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Phoenix, St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Cave Creek, and St. Timothy in Mesa.

The accusations of molestation are coupled with Spaulding harboring other priests accused of the same thing at parish rectories of churches where he served.

Spaulding twice harbored at a Mesa church another priest who was accused of sexual misconduct and inciting violence at a mission for the poor in Mexico, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix confirmed in September.

The diocese said Spaulding had allowed the Rev. Loren Riebe to stay at the St. Timothy's Catholic Community rectory in June 2009 and May of this year - even after the diocese warned him not to take in the priest who garnered national attention in 1995 when he was deported from Mexico amidst allegations that he had molested teenage boys.

Harboring Riebe also wouldn't be the first time that Spaulding has been accused of giving shelter to a suspended priest facing allegations of sexual abuse. In 1993 while pastor of Scottsdale's St. Maria Goretti Church, Spaulding took in the Rev. Michael Harris of California, according to the Diocese of Orange in California.

Spaulding's attorney, Don Wilkinson, told the Tribune Tuesday that the Diocese of Phoenix "cherry picked" the file before forwarding it to Rome, and that officials there do not have all of the information from the case that the Diocese presented to a review board consisting of various community members who decided that the allegations against Spaulding were credible.

Spaulding's defense team is preparing a response to the case for the Holy See, which could decide to send the case back to the Diocese of Phoenix to hold a trial against Spaulding. The Diocese of Phoenix then would send the case back to Rome a second time with final recommendations.

"This stuff doesn't happen overnight," Wilkinson said. "It's not over. The review committee at the Diocese is made up of some of the most respected members of the community, and they would consequently be disappointed to know that their actions were based on incomplete knowledge of the case."

"When Rome sends the case back to the Diocese of Phoenix, that's when we would anticipate that all the stuff that the Diocese did not show to Rome will come out at this time," Wilkinson added. But we do know this - Rome does not have the complete file - the Diocese does."

Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or


(7) comments


[sad] you took my comment away. chicken!

Leon Ceniceros

Priests and Monsignors are "small fish".

You won't stop pedophilia in the Catholic Church until you start throwing the Bishops, the Archbishops and the Cardinals who allowed the abuse of these innocent children to go on for centuries.

The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church are not the only "responcible parties" in this scandal.




You are completely right gailyn until we expose these priests and educate the public about the tremendous harm sexual abuse does to victims nothing is going to change. The truth is most of these priests who abuse don't even recognize the sin because their church cares more about them than the victim. If anyone has any information about priests in Phoenix who abuse they should e-mail Your e-mail is anonymous but your voice is heard. There are many victims of priests in Phoenix who have not been heard.


"as well as Father Spaulding's right to a confidential process."

Why does this varmitt deserve a confidential process. I would like to casterate him in the Vatican square at 12:00pm. Jesus would h ave been just as mad as every other logical human who has not been brain washed! Remember the money changers? How many children have you raped gthompson?


I am a good friend of the fathers and sadly he has spent the last 25 years of his life trying to help his son. The irony is that he has relied on his Catholic faith (and still does) to give him the strength to love his son David no matter the circumstances. He loves the Catholic Church. What the father does not believe is that Jesus would have to reach out to the 'Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith' before he prayed with a grieving father. Where are the Catholic treatment centers for victims of sexual abuse in Phoenix? Where do families go (David had a sister) to find comfort? Mike Pain does not believe in making priests who abuse the modern day lepers. What Mike Pain believes in is what Christ taught and that is to love and comfort everyone involved, but that has to start with the Church and the bishop not 'The Congregation of the Docrine of the Faith'.


It's 2012. Are you telling me no one can FAX all the "missing info" to Rome? Did it go by chariot or something?


Pope Benedict, in speaking of clerical scandals, said, "all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards.” This waters down the gravity of consecrated people being predators not protectors of children. It is the old, "everybody is doing it" approach.

Pope Benedict should mandate that if a diocese cannot determine that a report of clerical sexual abuse is NOT credible within 30 days of the diocese learning of it, the diocese must report it to outside authorities.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.