Sex Abuse Allegations Surface Against American Fork Pastor
AMERICAN FORK, Utah – A Catholic pastor from American Fork has been placed on leave and is being investigated for sexual abuse against children. According to the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, the allegations are from the early 1980s and potentially involved two young boys – who would now be adults.
The man at the center of the allegations is Father David Gaeta. He has been the pastor at St. Peter’s parish in American Fork for the past year. On Sunday, the congregation was told about the investigation, along with parishes in Ogden, Huntsville, Hyde Park, Hill Air Force Base, Salt Lake City and Moab. According to Jean Hill, government liaison for the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, those are all locations where Gaeta potentially served in the past.
“Father Gaeta has been removed from all ministry at his current parish and at all parishes within the diocese,” said Hill.
The diocese says allegations of sex abuse from the 1980s recently came to light, but it’s unclear if the victims themselves came forward. They say there are likely two victims involved and the alleged misconduct happened while Gaeta was serving at a parish in Ogden.
When the diocese found out, they say they notified the Division of Child and Family Services. However, DCFS would not confirm to KSL whether or not they are looking into the case. Hill says the diocese has not notified any police agencies yet, but is waiting for an internal investigation and an investigation by DCFS.
According to the diocese, Gaeta denies all the allegations.
“Everyone has learned a lot from the scandals of the past and I hope at this point in time we know you do have to take all of these allegations very seriously and you do all you can to protect both the priest and the victims,” said Hill.
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