Ogden police investigating report alleging abuse by Catholic priest

The Ogden Police Department has opened an investigation after receiving a report alleging “nonspecific abuse” by a Catholic priest who was serving as pastor of St. Peter Parish in American Fork until he was placed on administrative leave.

Father David R. Gaeta served in Ogden between 1980 and 1985. He returned to Utah in 2017 and was serving as pastor at St. Peter Parish in American Fork until his administrative leave began on Aug. 24.

On Aug. 28, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City’s Office of Safe Environment reported to Ogden police “that an adult male reported unspecific allegations of abuse” that occurred in 1981 or 1982 at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Ogden, said Lt. Tim Scott.

“All we’re getting is the generic term that there was abuse,” Scott said. “Of course, we’ll be interviewing” the man who reported the abuse.

The case has been referred to the police department’s special victims unit, which is investigating.

Scott said the department is searching microfilm of police reports from 1981-82 to see if the abuse may have been reported at that time. The department is also consulting with the Ogden City attorney’s office on the possibility that a statute of limitations, or legal deadline for filing charges, may come into play.

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Salt Lake City diocese said the case had been referred to the Division of Child and Family Services because the accuser was a minor when the alleged abuse occurred, adding that the allegations were only recently brought to the diocese’s attention.