An adult woman who lives in Colorado has reported that she was a victim of sexual abuse by a religious order priest approximately 35 years ago. The woman’s report is that the abuse took place in the 1980s when she was a student at Marycrest High School in Denver.
The priest named in the complaint is Father Ben Colucci, a retired member of the Capuchin Franciscan religious order. The woman first reported the abuse to the Capuchin Franciscans in 2015 and the order’s Review Board, which is tasked with investigating complaints of abuse and misconduct by its priests, thoroughly reviewed the matter. Based on the information received, the Review Board has advised that the complaint should be treated as credible.
Protective steps were taken upon learning of this complaint. The Capuchin Franciscans have confirmed with the woman that she reported the matter to law enforcement. The order has also separately contacted proper authorities to report the matter. It is the policy of the Archdiocese and the Capuchin Franciscans to cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies investigating complaints of abuse.
Because Father Colucci has not been in active ministry for many years, it was not necessary for the Capuchin Franciscans to remove him from ministry as a result of the complaint. Father Colucci served in Colorado from 1970 to 1993 at Marycrest High School, Annunciation Parish, and the Samaritan House. Father Colucci has not served or lived in Colorado since 1993, when he was removed from ministry by the Archdiocese of Denver for reported misconduct.
The Archdiocese and the Capuchin Franciscans take all allegations of misconduct by clergy extremely seriously – they do not tolerate misconduct and will continue to act diligently to address any and all allegations when they are brought forward. Father Christopher Popravak, the Provincial for the St. Conrad Province of the Capuchin Franciscans, and the order’s Review Board and Safe Environment Coordinator, as well as a Victim’s Advocate, are working to address the needs of the victim. The Archdiocese and the Capuchin Franciscans ask that the faithful pray for all persons who have been affected by clergy misconduct and that all who are in pain feel the healing touch of the Lord our God.
How to Report Abuse
If you know of an incident of sexual abuse of a person who was a minor at the time of the abuse by a priest, deacon, employee or volunteer, PLEASE IMMEDIATELY CALL THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES AND THEN THE ARCHDIOCESE and/or the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at (303) 715-3241 or (720) 239-2832.
For more information, visit archden.org/child-protection