Another Priest Removed from the Diocese of Oakland for Abuse Complaints

A priest within the Diocese of Oakland has been placed on leave following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

We are grateful that the Diocese of Oakland has taken steps to protect children and prevent future cases of abuse by removing Fr. Alex Castillo. However, simply removing allegedly abusive priests from ministry is not enough. We believe that Bishop Michael Barber should also inform the public and parishioners about when his office first received the allegations and what their immediate response was. Only by sharing this information can Catholic officials live up to their 2002 promise to be “open and transparent” in their handling of sexual abuse allegations.

On the point of transparency, we cannot help but notice that the Diocese of Oakland was slated to release a list of “credibly” accused priests last October, yet this release was suddenly delayed. In light of this newest case, we call on Bishop Barber to release this list immediately.

Moreover, Bishop Barber must publish the work history of this priest; Castillo’s last job was as the head of outreach to young people, notably in the Hispanic Community. Did the alleged abuse occur in that job, or at a prior parish posting? The only way families with children in the diocese can protect their children is if they know this work history.

And to be completely transparent, Barber should reveal more about this alleged crime; where did it occur? Are there multiple alleged victims?

We know that the vast majority of victims of sexual violence do not report their abuse. But publishing a list of accused priests can let other victims of clergy abuse know that they are not alone and often results in new people coming forward with their own, long-hidden experiences. It is incumbent on Bishop Barber to do everything he can to aggressively reach out to victims in his diocese by aggressively publicizing this latest allegation, personally visiting each parish in his diocese and begging other victims to come forward.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has a website available for  victims and witnesses to report clergy sexual abuse. We encourage anyone who may have seen, suffered, or suspected abuse at the hands of Fr. Castillo or others in the Oakland area to come forward and make a report, whether by using this online reporting form or by sending an email to ClergyAbuse@doj.ca.gov.

CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP California (dan.mcnevin@aol.com, 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP California (caljoey1@aol.com, 925-262-3699) Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Secretary (melanie.sakoda@gmail.com, 925-708-6175) Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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