Two of the 10 priests identified by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne last week as having sexually abused children served in Laramie.
The substantiated sexual abuse of the two priests with Laramie connections occurred more than a half-century ago.
Based on a timeline provided by the diocese, it appears that at least some of the sexual abuse inflicted by George Tellez occurred during his time at St. Laurence O’Toole Catholic Church in Laramie.
The diocese states that, during his early 30s, Tellez likely abused three adolescent girls between 1966 and 1971.
A history of St. Laurence O’Toole that was still available on the diocese website as of Friday states that Tellez “served the parish well for three years,” beginning in 1965. The history states that he brought the Catholic Youth Organization to “an unprecedented height of excellence.”
“This worthy priest received his first Pastorship in August 1968, when he became Pastor of St. Edmunds, Ranchester,” the website states.
Last week, the diocese released the names of 10 priests and one bishop they said served in Wyoming and faced substantiated accusations of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults dating back to 1950.
The list was released June 12 in the Diocese newsletter, the Wyoming Catholic Register, and was accompanied by a long letter from Bishop Steven Biegler, who said the names of the men “represents a betrayal of trust, a violation of the innocent and a human tragedy.”
In his letter, Biegler called the history of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church an “appalling sin and a reprehensible crime,” and the lack of a response from officials in the church across the world an absolute breach of their role as the mediators between God and his worshipers.
“On behalf of the church, I apologize to each victim, not only for the misconduct of those who committed sexual abuse, but also for the failure of any Church leader who did not take appropriate action after having received a report of an allegation,” Biegler said. “Finally, I pledge to do all that we can to assist with your healing and to learn from errors in our past.”
Patti Loehrer, Chancellor of the Cheyenne diocese, was unable to confirm how many, if any, of Tellez’s victims were abused during his time in Laramie.
“While the Diocese of Cheyenne did provide listings of each of the offenders and their assignments, we have not yet compiled a listing of the dates where they served at the time of abuse,” she said. “If the Diocese feels that it is necessary to publish this information, the website will be updated.”
A second priest with credible accusers, Charles Gormly, also served at St. Laurence O’Toole. However, the church’s timeline indicates the substantiated abuse did not occur in Laramie.
The diocese stated Gormly abused one pre-adolescent and four adolescent girls between 1960 and 1961, when Gormly was about 50 years old.
The diocese’s website, however, only indicates that Gormly served as an assistant pastor at St. Laurence O’Toole for one year 1943-1944.
Gormly is now dead. Tellez later left the church to marry, but the diocese’s list did not state whether he is still alive.