In 1996, Father Joseph Fertal was alleged to have molested a boy he met during catechism classes at St. Edward Church in Corona, CA. Fertal was alleged to have been bringing the boy to his home to sexually abuse him in early 1995. Documents produced during this lawsuit revealed that the Diocese of San Bernardino had been warned in 1993 that Fertal should not work with children. In 1989, he had been treated for “sexual identity anxieties” at St. Michael’s Institute in St. Louis, MO. The lawsuit was settled out of court in 1996. In 2002, it was reported that Fertal was living at the Society of the Divine Word Seminary in Riverside, CA, and was asked to relocate because of the fact that children were frequently on the property for church and school retreats. According to a list of priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct released by the Diocese of San Bernardino in October of 2018, Fertal is considered permanently banned from ministry in the Diocese of San Bernardino.
Joseph Fertal has gone by the nickname Joe.