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This profile was last updated on 2/14/11  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Fr. Eric Swearingen

Wrong Fr. Eric Swearingen?

Priest

Local Address: Fresno, California, United States
Holy Spirit parish
 
Background
23 Total References
Web References
Victims appeal to new Fresno diocese head - SNAP Press Release
www.snapnetwork.org, 14 Feb 2011 [cached]
Leaders of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) are writing Monsignor Myron J. Cotta about Fr. Eric Swearingen, who leads Holy Spirit Church in Fresno. (Cotta has temporarily taken over the Fresno Diocese in the wake of Bishop John Steinbock's recent death.)
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In 2006, after hearing witnesses and examining evidence during a civil trial, a jury voted 9-3 that Swearingen was "more than likely" to have abused A former altar boy when the child was between 12 and 15 years old.
Technically, the trial ended in a hung jury because jurors could not agree on whether or not the Diocese of Fresno knew about Swearingen's abusive propensities before he molested the victim.
Swearingen now pastors Holy Spirit Church in Fresno where he oversees youth ministry.http://www.holyspiritfresno.catholicweb.com/
In a letter sent to Cotta today, SNAP leaders called Swearingen's assignment "extremely risky."
"Err on the side of children's safety and remove Swearingen from his post," said SNAP's letter.
SNAP made similar points in a 2007 letter to Steinbock: "An unbiased jury of Swearingen's peers spent days listening to witnesses and considering evidence.
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SNAP wants Cotta to suspend Swearingen and send notices to all Fresno churches urging anyone who might have evidence that could prove or disprove the allegations against him to speak up.
"There should be no doubt that Swearingen is guilty.
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"Bishop Steinbock continues Swearingen in ministry to this day, choosing to believe the priest is innocent, choosing to protect the priest, and choosing to disregard entirely the judicial finding by a jury that found he had committed the crime of sexual abuse against Juan," says Rocha's attorney, Jeffrey Anderson.
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Today, Swearingen serves as priest at Holy Spirit parish in Fresno, where he also oversees the youth ministry. Swearingen did not return phone calls, and Steinbock declined requests for an interview."
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We believe, now more than ever, that for the safety of children, Fr. Eric Swearingen should be ousted from ministry. Having him in a parish, especially in charge of youth ministry, is extremely risky and there's no justification for such recklessness.
Recall, if you will, the Pope's clear pledge this summer to "do everything possible" to prevent future clergy sex crimes. If you truly honor the Holy Father (and the findings of an impartial Fresno jury), you will err on the side of children's safety and remove Swearingen from his post.
You are now, temporarily, in charge of the diocese. You can't blame others for past misdeeds or carelessness or callousness regarding Swearingen. If he molests a child today, tomorrow, or in the years ahead, the blame will fall squarely on you.
We ask you to be guided by common sense, common decency, compassion towards kids and by the Pope's words, not by your predecessor's error. Please, for the safety of children, suspend Swearingen from this parish.
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This month, you appointed Fr. Eric Swearingen as the new rector at San Joaquin Memorial High School. This is the same Eric Swearingen who was found by a civil jury (after days of hearing witnesses and examining evidence) to have "more than likely" to have abused Juan Rocha.
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- Rescind the appointment of Fr. Swearingen at Memorial High School,
- Notify parents, teachers and administrators in writing and in person about Swearingen's civil conviction and the immediate threat he poses to kids,
- Remove Swearingen from any and all assignments that provide him access to kids and place him in an inpatient facility where he can get the treatment he requires,
- Post accurate and up-to-date information about Swearingen all diocesan communications, including bulletins, web pages and verbal announcements and encourage anyone with information about Swearingen to contact law enforcement.
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Bishop Steinbock is using the generosity of parishioners to finance and harbor Fr. Swearingen, giving him unfettered access to children and vulnerable adults in the Fresno diocese.
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Swearingen is now working at Holy Spirit Church in Woodward Park.
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An unbiased group of citizens have heard the evidence and determined that Swearingen molested Juan Rocha.
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Of course some people believe Swearingen is innocent. Some people believe he's guilty.
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But, on the most crucial question - guilt or innocence - an impartial jury determined that Swearingen sexually abused an innocent boy.
Parish Offices and Staff | Holy Spirit Fresno Catholic Church
www.holyspiritfresno.org, 15 Oct 2013 [cached]
Rev Eric V Swearingen(Pastor) 559-434-7701
Convicted pedophile priest still works for church - SNAP Press Release
www.snapnetwork.org, 6 April 2010 [cached]
The other, Fr. Eric Swearingen in the Fresno diocese, is still in a parish today.
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In 2006, the jury found 9 to 3 that Swearingen had abused Rocha.
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"Bishop Steinbock continues Swearingen in ministry to this day, choosing to believe the priest is innocent, choosing to protect the priest, and choosing to disregard entirely the judicial finding by a jury that found he had committed the crime of sexual abuse against Juan," says Rocha's attorney, Jeffrey Anderson.
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Today, Swearingen serves as priest at Holy Spirit parish in Fresno, where he also oversees the youth ministry. Swearingen did not return phone calls, and Steinbock declined requests for an interview.
FresnoBee.com: Local: Rectory no safe haven, man says
www.fresnobee.com, 30 Nov 2006 [cached]
The priest offered him a break from an abusive and alcoholic father and a mother overwhelmed with her children, Rocha testified.Swearingen allowed him to stay overnight in the church rectory, first at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Bakersfield, and later at St. Alphonsus in southwest Fresno, Rocha said.Alone in Swearingen's room, Rocha recalled Swearingen typically wore a T-shirt and underwear and his breath smelled like wine when the two would get in the priest's bed."We would lie in bed, and his hands would wander," said Rocha, now 31 and a decorated Army sergeant first class.
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Swearingen, 45, dressed in dark clerical clothing, sat stoically in the front row Wednesday alongside about 10 supporters.He is pastor of Holy Spirit parish in Woodward Park, one of the largest in Fresno with 3,200 families.Swearingen has said he is innocent but has yet to testify in the civil trial, which began Tuesday.A jury of seven women and five men has been chosen to determine whether Swearingen molested Rocha in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Rocha was between 12 and 15 years old.
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Over a year and a half, Rocha said, Swearingen let him stay in the rectory for several nights to escape his bleak home life.
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Rocha said the church official scolded him, telling him his relationship with Swearingen was inappropriate and that it could be grounds for excommunication from the Catholic Church.
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Rocha took a bus to Fresno, where Swearingen picked him up at the bus station.
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Rocha said Swearingen then let him live three months at the rectory at St. Alphonsus parish, where the molestation continued.
Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Fresno, California
www.holyspiritfresno.org, 7 Mar 2012 [cached]
Our parish is growing under the guidance of our pastor, Rev. Eric Swearingen.
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