Former Coachella Valley priests credibly accused of sexual abuse

A list of priests credibly accused of child sexual since 1978 was released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino – which represents San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.  Of the 34 church officials on the list, seven spent time in the Coachella Valley.

Those with ties to the Palm Springs area were:

  • Peter McCormick: assigned to Sacred Heart in Palm Desert from 1984-2000, year of abuse: 2000, diocese became aware in 2000, removed from the ministry 2000
  • Roberto Barco: assigned to St. Louis in Cathedral City from 2011-2014, years of abuse: 2009-2010, diocese became aware in 2016, removed from the ministry in Archdiocese of Los Angeles 2016
  • Jesus Dominguez: assigned to Our Lady of Soledad, Coachella from 1984-1987, years of abuse: 1983 & 1988, diocese became aware in 1988, removed from ministry in 1993, arrested 2001
  • J. Ernest Hayes:, assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Indio from 1965-1987, years of abuse: 1978-1983, 1981, 1987, diocese became aware in 1987, died in 1990
  • Malachy McGinn: assigned to St. Theresa in Palm Springs from 1985-1997, years of abuse 1969 & 1981, died in 1997, diocese became aware in 2002
  • Anthony Rodriguez:, assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Indio from 1971-1972, year of abuse: 1978, arrested 1979
  • Saul Ayala: assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mecca from 1991-1997, years of abuse: 1988-1989, diocese became aware in 2002, banned from ministry in 2002

In addition to the list, Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino detailed in a video why he released the names of the accused priests.  He also asked anyone with more info to come forward.

“Our church finds itself confronting the past and present realities of the clergy sexual abuse crisis,” Barnes said. “And so I have made the decision to release publicly a list of the names of all priests who have ministered in the Diocese of San Bernardino that have credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during our 40 years as a diocese.”

Of the 14 total church officials on the list, 14 are now deceased, five were permanently banned from the priesthood, and an additional 14 were permanently banned from ministry in the Diocese of San Bernardino.

Anyone who wishes to come forward or who has more information can contact the Diocesan Hotline at 888-206-9090 or the Office of Child & Youth Protection at 909-475-5125.

Learn more: Press Enterprise / Desert Sun