Phoenix Priest Accused Of Sexually Abusing 2 Boys Dies At 74
John “Jack” Spaulding, a Catholic priest in Phoenix accused of sexual abusing two boys, died Tuesday, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Diocese of Phoenix.
Spaulding was indicted last month by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office on charges of misconduct with two boys under 15.
The indictment alleged that the 74-year-old Spaulding sexually abused the two boys between 2003 and 2007. Spaulding was a priest at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Mesa when the alleged acts took place.
The diocese of Phoenix acknowledged the charges against Spaulding in its statement:
“We understand how difficult and painful this is for his family, the community of believers, and in a particular way for the individuals who came forward with allegations and their families. Seeking truth and justice was a shared desire. His death prevents this process here on earth and brings sadness, anger and hurt on many levels.”
In 2014, a panel was convened at the direction of the Vatican to investigate abuse allegations against Spaulding. The three-judge panel was made up of priests from around the country.
The tribunal recommended that Spaulding be dismissed from the priesthood.
The diocese said Spaulding was suspended in June 2011 and placed on leave following an investigation that determined a sexual misconduct allegation against him was credible. It said several additional claims have since been made alleging sexual misconduct by Spaulding and all were reported to law enforcement.
The church in 2014 began a process called laicization to remove him from the priesthood, but Spaulding appealed that decision.