Response to Valerie Cury's article, "New Revelations in the Father Escalante Saga"
published in the Blue Ridge Leader on April 17, 2019


April 23, 2019


Confidentiality and professional ethics keep the Diocese of Arlington from publicly disclosing the entirety of the information we have received in relation to the allegations against Father Ronald Escalante. Nevertheless, the Diocese is compelled to make the following response to the article “New Revelations in the Father Escalante Saga” by Valerie Cury in the Blue Ridge Leader

This story reflects a serious lapse of journalistic standards on the part of Ms. Cury, who has used claims by anonymous sources to impugn the character and honesty of an alleged minor victim and her family. Alleged victims, especially minors, deserve far better treatment by the news media than what has been afforded by the Blue Ridge Leader.

The supposed “new revelations” and “evidence” contained within the article are provided exclusively by anonymous sources and are not acknowledged by the author as having been corroborated by additional, credible sources or other reliable evidence. This is highly peculiar, to say the least. Readers have a right to know the identity of most sources so that readers can determine on their own the believability of those sources’ claims as well as their potential motivations. Not to publish a single on-the-record source is unprofessional and, in most circumstances, would have been stopped by an editor. (The author of the Blue Ridge Leader article is also the publication’s owner and is therefore not accountable to a supervisor who would uphold journalistic standards). This is not the first time Ms. Cury has relied on unnamed sources in publishing an article about Father Escalante’s situation. 

The Diocese of Arlington has provided parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Church, as much information regarding Father Escalante’s status as confidentiality reasonably permits. As has been noted in past communications, there is an ongoing internal investigation of allegations and, out of respect for the reputation and good name of Father Escalante and of those who have come forward, the Diocese of Arlington is limited in the amount of information it can provide publicly at this time. 

With regard to the article’s unsubstantiated allegation of financial irregularities at St. Francis de Sales Parish, the Diocese of Arlington thoroughly investigates any such reports that it receives.

From: Billy Atwell, Chief Communications Officer, Diocese of Arlington