What we know about the accused priests once assigned to Grant County

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Editor's Note: The information in this article may not be comprehensive, and only reflects what could be verified by court documents or past reporting. Explicit details of the alleged abuse are not included in this story. Assigned parishes listed may be incomplete, and does not include every location where the person in question served in some capacity or, in some cases, where they were accused of abuse. Information on the priest's time in Grant County and the diocese's resolution of each case was provided by the Diocese of Yakima.

Dale Calhoun – Permanently removed from priestly ministry, 1986

Assigned to: St. Rose of Lima, Ephrata; St. Paul's Cathedral, Yakima; Holy Family, Yakima; St. Frances Cabrini, Benton City; St. Joseph, Kennewick.

Accusations: St. Pious X Rectory, Beaumont, Texas, 1969, accused of molesting a 15-year-old student. St. Paul's Cathedral, Yakima, 1977-1981, accused of grooming and repeatedly sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy whose altar service training Calhoun supervised. A third case dating from the 1980s was also settled, but details of the accusation were not readily available.

Time in Grant County: St. Rose of Lima, Ephrata, April 1983 – June 1986.

Diocese resolution of case: Multiple claims and lawsuits settled, priestly faculties removed.

Brian T. Gallagher – Deceased.

Assigned to: St. Pius X, Quincy; St. Rose, Ephrata; St. Paul Cathedral, Yakima; St. Andrew, Ellensburg; Blessed Sacrament, Grandview; Immaculate Conception, Mabton; Immaculate Conception, Roslyn; St. Francis, Chelan; St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Benton City.

Accusations: touching a child inappropriately in the early 1960s in Yakima.

Time in Grant County: St. Pius X, Quincy, September 1960 – February 1961

Diocese resolution of case: Received treatment, returned to ministry; retired 1991, prior to the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Gustavo Gomez – Permanently removed from priestly ministry, 2017. Possible laicization pending.

Assigned to: Our Lady of the Desert, Mattawa; Blessed Sacrament, Grandview; Holy Apostles, East Wenatchee; St. Frances X. Cabrini, Benton City; St. Juan Diego, Cowiche; Our Lady of Guadalupe, Granger.

Accusations: St. Juan Diego Parish, Cowiche, 2011, accused of grooming teenage boys and molesting one. Though Gomez denied the accusations, he admitted to giving minors liquor, massages, gifts and trips to Disneyland, as well as allowing them to sleep at his residence overnight, which went against the rules set by the diocese, according to records.

Time in Grant County: Our Lady of the Desert, Mattawa, October 2006 – June 2010

Diocese resolution of case: Administrative penal process underway at direction of Vatican.

Anthony King – Deceased, 2001

Assigned to: Our Lady of Fatima, Moses Lake; St. Pius X, Quincy; Chaplain, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Yakima; Sacred Heart, Prosser; St. Joseph, White Salmon; Christ the King, Richland; St. Catherine, Seattle while studying at Seattle University; Marquette High School, Yakima; Sacred Heart Parish, Prosser; St. Peter the Apostle Seminary, Cowiche; St. Peter, Cowiche; Mater Cleri Seminary, Colbert; St. Thomas Seminary, Kenmore; American College, Louvain, Belgium; St. Joseph, Wenatchee; St. Peter Claver, Wapato; St. Joseph, Sunnyside; St. Henry, Grand Coulee

Accusations: St. Peter the Apostle Seminary, Cowiche, early 1960s, accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old student.

Time in Grant County: Our Lady of Fatima, Moses Lake, January 1982 – September 1988; St. Pius X, Quincy weekend help, September 1961 – January 1962

Diocese resolution of case: Lawsuit settled.

James Kovalik – Deceased, year unknown

Assigned to: St. Piux X, Quincy; Marquette High School, Yakima; St. Joseph, Yakima; Yakima Central Catholic High School; St. Paul Cathedral, Yakima; Newman Center, Ellensburg

Accusations: Central Catholic High School, Yakima, 1963, was “romantically involved with an underage female student whom he later married after leaving active ministry,” according to the diocese.

Time in Grant County: St. Pius X, Quincy, July 1959 – August 1960

Diocese resolution of case: Declined treatment, left ministry, and was laicized.

Hilario Ramirez – Deceased, reportedly died in the early 1980s

Assigned to Our Lady of Fatima, Moses Lake; Queen of All Saints, Warden

Accusations: Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Moses Lake, early 1970s, accused of abusing four children aged 7-13, two of whom have since died. Ramirez returned to Mexico shortly after the alleged abuse and reportedly died in an auto accident in that country not long after.

Time in Grant County: Our Lady of Fatima, Moses Lake; Queen of All Saints, Warden, acted as a visiting priest for both for one summer in the early 1970s.

Diocese resolution of case: Claims judged more likely true than not after internal review; one victim provided counseling, another victim given financial settlement.

Michael Simpson – Deceased, 1977

Assigned to: St. Michael, Royal City; St. Aloysius, Toppenish; St. Mary, White Swan; St. Patrick, Hartline; St. Henry, Grand Coulee

Accusations: St. Aloysius, Toppenish, early 1960s, accused of sexually assaulting or raping five girls as young as 8-years-old.

Time in Grant County: St. Michael, Royal City, January 1973 – September 1973

Diocese resolution of case: Multiple claims and lawsuits settled, another lawsuit currently pending.

John Tholen – Deceased, 2012

Assigned to: St. Rose of Lima, Ephrata; St. Pius X, Quincy; Carroll High School, Yakima; St. Joseph, Wenatchee; St. Francis Xavier, Cashmere; St. Paul Cathedral, Yakima; Holy Family Parish, Yakima; Our Lady of Lourdes, Selah; Sacred Heart, Prosser; Holy Redeemer, Yakima.

Accusations: Holy Redeemer, Yakima, early to mid-1960s, accused of grooming and molesting two teenage brothers.

Time in Grant County: St. Rose of Lima, Ephrata, 1962 – 1964; St. Pius X, Quincy, 1964 – 1966

Diocese resolution of case: Lawsuit settled; retired 1997, prior to the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The print edition of this story incorrectly identified the accusations made against Brian Gallagher. The online edition has been updated to reflect the correct information.

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