Catholic Priest Charged in Molestation of Altar Boys
A 34-year-old Roman Catholic priest in Huntington Beach was charged Friday with 24 counts of molesting an undisclosed number of altar boys during a 13-month period.
Charges were filed by the Orange County district attorney’s office Friday afternoon against Father Andrew Christian Andersen, one of the priests at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church, 16400 Springdale St.
Police said Andersen is currently living away from the parish house. “He has made arrangements with his attorney to surrender himself in the early part of next week,” said Huntington Beach Police Lt. James Walker.
Walker said police are not disclosing the number of boys allegedly molested. “There are several, and that’s all I can say,” Walker said. “The investigation is continuing.”
Walker said the altar boys were between the ages of 12 and 14. “We have found no evidence so far that any was physically injured,” Walker said.
Andersen’s attorney could not be reached for comment. Efforts to reach the pastor of St. Bonaventure Church or any spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Orange also failed.
Police said that officials at both the church and the diocesan office had known about their 3-week-old investigation.
Walker said the 24 counts mean 24 instances of alleged molestation “and do not mean 24 victims.”
Walker said the mother of a 13-year-old boy contacted police on March 31 and reported “that her son, an altar boy of St. Bonaventure Church, was allegedly being sexually molested by a priest from the same church.”
Detective Gary Brooks of the Police Department sex crimes detail immediately began “a very thorough investigation,” Walker said, and “during the course of the investigation, additional victims were identified.” The investigation also turned up “witness statements and physical evidence,” he said.
The alleged incidents occurred between February, 1985, and March, 1986, Walker said. Reading from a report, Walker said, “the location of the (alleged) acts include the suspect’s vehicle, a private residence within the city of Huntington Beach owned by the church, the church rectory, the suspect’s living quarters on church premises and a borrowed motor home.”
“The investigation is still in progress and additional documents will be forwarded to the district attorney on Monday,” Walker said.
The charges were filed by Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael C. Koski, who had been studying the Huntington Beach Police Department’s case for about a week.