The recent story by AP about Fr. Michael Teta and his alleged crimes of child molestation and pedophilia are demonstrative of a media looking for sensationalism, not the truth. I know, I am the brother of Fr. Teta…To set the record straight, let me offer the following.
Fr. Teta was suspended in 1990 for allegations of misconduct with adults NOT CHILDREN. This has been stated over and over by the former and current Bishop of the Tucson Diocese. A canonical trial consisting of 3 priests found him to be guilty of crimes committed against ADULTS. Unfortunately what is not reported is that this tribunal consisted of a judge who was a good friend and classmate of Bishop Manuel Moreno. What is not reported is that one of the seminarians Fr. Teta supposedly “corrupted” is a fervent and flaming homosexual now residing in Florida and working in above all places, Disney world. He is an active member of “EQUAL AND OUT” a radical homosexual organization based in San Francisco. What is not reported is that this man, in his 20S at the time, not a child or teen is the son of a prominent member of the Catholic Church in Tucson and was one of Bishop Morenos closest friends. Could Fr. Teta corrupt a holy seminarian into becoming a raging homosexual? cause him to stage demonstrations on his seminary campus? That was not reported either. What is not reported is that ALL of the so called victims that were in one journalists mind “raped” were of adult age and one would assume of sane mind. If and that’s a big IF any of this is true, then clearly it was improper sexual misconduct for a Priest, but not pedophilia or minor abuse. For one very strange reason, Bishop Moreno and in fact the Catholic Church as a whole could not and cannot seem to separate homosexuality from pedophilia, and thus Fr. Teta is improperly labeled. What is not reported is that one of the priests who wrote a letter of condemnation against Teta was one Fr. Steven Stencil, currently suspended from the Tucson ministry for grabbing the crotch of a 17 year old. What is not reported is that another man who accused Fr. Teta of misconduct was mentally imbalanced prior to him ever meeting Fr. Teta, and this was confirmed by another priest in the diocese who served in the same parish as Fr. Teta.
Moving on, it is true that in 2002 Fr. Teta was accused of child molestation of a 7 and 9 year old in the confessional in December, 1978. Fr. Teta arrived in the diocese in late October, 1978. The confessionals of 1978 were such that it would be physically impossible to molest anyone. The law suits claimed that Fr. Teta commited these offense on the same day as the children’s first communion. The Catholic Church in Tucson had NEVER held these two sacramental ceremonies on the same date, so this is deliberate and outright fiction. The church cannot even confirm that Fr. Teta was present at the ceremony.
Let me be frank. Lynne Cadigan, the Tucson attorney who has made millions off of the Diocese of Tucson and these type of cases was investigating another priest Fr. Triupia to file a law suit for one of her clients. Trupia indeed was a known child molester by all of his fellow Tucson priests, and was nicknamed “chickenhawk”. Many of these priests who knew all about Trupia (and laughed about it) and gave the nickname still are in active ministry, knew but never reported Trupia. Along comes Ms. Cadigan who in her review of church records notices that Teta was once at the same rectory as Trupia, and that Fr. Teta was on suspension. Thus, Fr. Teta was included in the very first case against Trupia, no not as a molester, but as a bystander who knew the truth about Trupia but failed to report it. No other priests were charged, even though they called Trupia. chicken hawk”
This case against Fr. Teta was summarily dismissed in Pima County Superior Court. I sat in the courtroom as Ms. Cadigan furious at Fr. Teta’s attorney looked at him and said and I quote “Two can play at this game” I will never forget those words….It was some 6 months to a year later that mysteriously Caidgan found two boys willing to file a complaint suggesting that Fr. Teta had molested them. In my opinion and only in my opinion, Ms. Cadigan seeking revenge found these two men to testify that after only TWO MONTHS in the diocese Teta had molested them. Keep in mind that Fr. Teta was a priest in New Jersey for 5 years prior and not one complaint was filed against him, not one. The church in Tucson eager to move on, simply paid these so called victims millions. Thus, Fr. Teta thanks to Ms. Cadigan’s efforts became not only a individual allegedly guilty of sexual misconduct with an adult, he is now cast as a pedophile, a rapist, and maintains a satantic quality.
I am amazed and appalled that the Church never lifted a finger to assist Fr. Teta in the allegations of child abuse. They never investigated, noever allowed Fr. Teta or his attorney to confront the witnesses, did nothing except pay them off.
Three priests from this diocese now sit in jail, the most recent being Fr. Gary Underwood. All three were charged in a criminal court, criminallt convicted and criminally incarcerated, yet Fr. Teta has never been charged much less convicted of anything. Food for thought? You be the Judge. I know the real truth, I am living it.
I have no doubt that there are many members of the clergy that have committed heinous crimes against children. I write here today to tell you emphatically that my brother is NOT among them. The sensationalism of this story, only brought forward to suggest improperiety on the part of the Vatican and Pope Benedict, is evil, unjustified and reprehensible.
If there is an attorney brave enough to come forward and assist Fr. Teta to try andclear his name, I beg them to come forward, look at the entire record, and force corrections from a media so unable to be considered creible anymore, it prints sensationalism, inaccuracies and blatant lies.