Diocese seeking more information on abuse claim

The Diocese of Little Rock is seeking assistance from parishioners at St. Raphael Church in Springdale and St. Barbara Church in De Queen to find a child who was allegedly abused by a priest and locate a man making threats against Father Ruben Quinteros.
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered a message at all seven Masses in English and Spanish in the Springdale parish July 9-10 to explain the incidents that have transpired over the past month.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call or text a special temporary phone number set up for this matter, (479) 790-6442.

An anonymous caller made an allegation June 10 that Father Quinteros, pastor of St. Barbara Church in De Queen and former associate pastor of St. Raphael Church, “touched improperly” an altar server during confession. The alleged victim’s name was given, but the child could not be found by looking through the registry at St. Raphael Church or St. Joseph Church in Fayetteville or in the local school districts.
Bishop Taylor immediately implemented the diocesan child sexual abuse policy and notified the state child abuse hotline of the allegation.
Father Quinteros was temporarily removed by Bishop Taylor from ministry June 10 while the investigation was conducted. The diocesan review board met June 21 and determined the allegation was not credible and if the abuse of a child did occur, the perpetrator was probably someone else. The board agreed that the priest could return to ministry.
“I believe we may be dealing with a case of mistaken identity. If this parent was not active in the parish, he could easily have jumped to the conclusion that the Hispanic priest in Springdale at the time he learned of the alleged incident must have been the one who did it,” Bishop Taylor said in his message.
A man has continued to make threats against Father Quinteros. On June 19 the police were called to the St. Barbara rectory after it was vandalized, and flyers threatening the priest were distributed in Springdale and De Queen July 2-3.
“I am waiting for the right moment to seize him and I swear by my child that I’m going to make him pay,” the flyer stated in Spanish.
Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call or text a special temporary phone number set up for this matter, (479) 790-6442. The diocese hopes that someone who has information will come forward and aid the police in its investigation. In his remarks, Bishop Taylor cautioned, “We must always presume innocence until proven otherwise and to this point we have no proof of anything, only a phone call that not even the police can follow up on and a man who threatens to take the law into his own hands.”

Click here to read the bishop’s message.

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