A well-known East Valley priest accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy more than 25 years ago often bought the boy new clothes, shoes and hats after dinner and took him on movie outings before the relationship abruptly ended on a trip to San Diego in the summer of 1985, according to letters from the boy’s father obtained by the Tribune.
David Pain Sr. wrote that his son, David Pain Jr., wanted to “come home” after three days of the scheduled trip with the Rev. Jack Spaulding to a condominium in San Diego because he no longer wanted to share the same bed with the man on the trip. As far as the alleged sexual touching, Pain Jr. “didn’t want to do it anymore,” one of the documents says.
Pain Jr. had told his sister that Spaulding would get into a hot tub naked with him at his house near St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Scottsdale, where Spaulding served at the time, and would allow the boy to give him “back rubs.” That led to Spaulding giving the boy “rub downs” and sexual touching, according to letters that David Pain Sr. wrote to the Rev. Fred Adamson, vicar general of the Diocese of Phoenix, in August 2010 and again last month. Pain Sr. wrote the letters on behalf of his son, who died in June 2010. A civil attorney representing Spaulding provided copies of the two letters to the Tribune.
Spaulding, 67, served at St. Maria Goretti from November 1982 to June 1996, and resigned his post at St. Timothy’s Catholic Community in Mesa last month following a diocesan investigation. The case will be reviewed and heard by a Vatican-based Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome in the months ahead. He will be removed from the priesthood if Rome decides he is guilty.
At the time of the alleged relationship, Spaulding had been helping the boy cope with the divorce of his parents, with their permission. Spaulding took the boy to San Diego where he had rented a condo, the letter stated.
Overall, the alleged relationship lasted for eight months, from late 1984 to mid-1985, according to what Pain Sr. wrote in the letter.
In August 2010, the father wrote a letter to Adamson, at first claiming the Rev. Jack Spaulding molested his son when he was 11.
However, when Spaulding was questioned by diocese officials he discredited the dates. Then, in a letter Pain Sr. wrote to Adamson in June after checking his “available records,” he next claimed his son told his sister that Spaulding molested him on a trip to San Diego and when he was 13. The boy also told a former school teacher and attorney that he was molested by Spaulding, according to the letter.
However, it remains to be seen how the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will handle the case. David Pain Jr. is dead from a gunshot wound inflicted by his father in self-defense after Pain Jr., then 38, forced his way into the family residence in Scottsdale last year, according to authorities. That followed years of problems with the law, including a prison sentence for armed robbery and burglary, according to Arizona Department of Corrections records.
This is believed to be the first time someone has submitted a complaint or case to the diocese on behalf of a dead victim.
However, a canon lawyer and civil attorney who each represent Spaulding contend that Pain’s father is the only one who specifically named Spaulding as the abuser.
The Diocese of Phoenix had a former FBI agent investigate the allegations who interviewed 14 people close to Pain Jr.
“David Pain Jr. told some of them that he had been abused by a priest, but he never named anyone,” the Rev. Mike Sullivan, a canon lawyer based in Minneapolis, said last week.
Paul Pfaffengberger, director for the Office of Child Protection at the Diocese of Phoenix, said of Pain Jr. never naming Spauling: “That’s simply not true.”
Pain Sr. could not be reached for comment, and other Pain family members did not return phone calls seeking comment.
It wasn’t immediately known whether Pain Sr. is being represented by a lawyer or if he plans to sue the diocese.
“I seek nothing other than notifying the diocese and the bishop made aware of this ‘sexual molestation’ and the possible consequences which may occur to another young man,” Pain Sr. wrote in 2010.
There is no criminal investigation into the allegations against Spaulding as Pain Jr. never responded to calls from Scottsdale police trying to corroborate the allegations after one of his family members verbally told an officer of the alleged abuse.
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