Former Leadville priest Neil Hewitt is facing allegations from two men who said Hewitt molested them in the 1960s. Hewitt served as a priest at Annunciation Church in the 1960s and 1970s; he married and left the church in the 1980s.
In a letter uncovered by Stuart Saucke’s cousin Donna Ballentine, Saucke recounts Hewitt sexually assaulting him on trips to Canada, Sterling and Denver when he was a minor. Saucke committed suicide in 1991 following a lifelong battle with alcoholism, Channel 9 reported last week.
Ballentine filed a formal complaint against Hewitt with the Archdiocese of Denver in 2002.
Michael Smilanic, who attended St. Therese Catholic Church in Aurora where Hewitt worked as a priest, said Hewitt molested him on a trip Montreal in 1967. Smilanic was 14 years old at the time.
In 2017, Smilanic filed a similar complaint with the Denver archdiocese. According to Channel 9, the movie “Spotlight,” which recounts an investigation into child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests in Massachusetts, inspired him to come forward.
In February, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced an independent review of sexual abuse of minors within the Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo dioceses. The review will be lead by former U.S. attorney Robert Troyer and will investigate abuse going back to 1950.
The allegations against Hewitt, who is now 83 years old, may be included in the report.