February 18, 2011
A second priest has been suspended as allegations of sexual misconduct by Fr. Edward Ftiz-Henry are investigated by the Diocese of Monterey.
Tom Riordan, vicar of temporalities at the Diocese of Monterey, says the alleged victim told the priest he had been abused, and the priest failed to report it as required under diocese policy. "He should've reported it," Riordan says. "If you learn of an act of sexual misconduct by anyone, you report it."
The attorney representing the alleged victim, Vince Finaldi, says the priest is Father Nicholas Milich of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Ephrata, Washington. Milich had moved back to his hometown of Watsonville to help care for his aging parents. As to his local engagements, Riordan says, "He's been helping out at different places." Riordan declined to confirm or deny the priest's identity, noting that there have been no allegations made against him.
Bishop Garcia has suspended the priest from functioning in any official capacity, and the incident is being reported to the bishop of the priest's home diocese.
As to when the alleged victim first told the priest, "Nobody can seem to put a finger on the exact date," says Riordan. Finaldi says his client first spoke about the sexual abuse with Milich as early as June or July of 2010. The diocese says it wasn't made aware of the allegation until Jan. 7, when they received a letter from the alleged victim's attorneys.
Earlier this week, Riordan had been unable to confirm or deny the alleged victim's claim that he had notified a priest who took no action. Further investigation by the private investigator retained by the diocese revealed that the victim did indeed speak to a priest prior to taking legal action.