- Suit says Catholic officials knew of crimes for 40 years
- Cleric was in three California dioceses, including Fresno
- A dozen others - including former Memorial HS students - have reported his inappropriate actions around kids
Holding signs and photos of themselves at the age they were abused, victims of child sexual abuse and their supporters will:
-- discuss a clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit filed last week involving the Fresno diocese,
-- hand out leaflets to Catholics leaving mass and to community members about the alleged predator priest, and
-- urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes to call police immediately.
The lawsuit says that:
- at least 14 witnesses, including students at San Joaquin Memorial High School, have come forward to testify to the priest's misconduct, and
- church staff in three different dioceses knew of (and kept silent about) the priest's sexual misconduct as far back as the 1960s.
Outside of St. John's Cathedral, 2814 Mariposa St. (at R Street), Fresno, 93721
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 1 pm
2-3 survivors of sexual abuse and their supporters who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), the nation's largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious organizations.
Last week, a northern California man filed a child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit alleging that a priest who worked in Fresno, Fr. Don Flickinger, sexually victimized him as a boy in San Jose in 2001. The lawsuit also alleges that church officials in three dioceses – Fresno, San Jose and San Francisco - knew about Flickinger's predatory behavior for more than 40 years and did little or nothing to protect kids.
The victim, now 23, says that Fr. Flickinger sexually assaulted him in Flickinger's room when the boy was 13 and Flickinger was working in the Diocese of San Jose. The boy went to the police to report the abuse. When contacted by the victim via a "police sting call," the cleric was evidently aware of the investigation and did not incriminate himself. Flickinger was then transferred from the San Jose area to St. Paul's church in San Francisco, where parishioners were not warned about child sex allegations against the priest.
The victim, like many victims of child sexual abuse, has suffered severe emotional and psychological damage. In 2009, he pled no contest to a misdemeanor count of possession of child pornography. He downloaded the images while still a teen and soon after the alleged abuse.
Witnesses who have come forward include former students at San Joaquin Memorial High School. According to the lawsuit, allegations of Fr. Flickinger's misconduct begin in 1968, soon after he was ordained a priest in the Fresno diocese. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2011/07_08/2011_08_12_Guy_SuitClaims.htm Flickinger has been accused by other witnesses of sexual abuse, intimidating and threatening children who reported him. The lawsuit says that Flickinger hand-picked Memorial High School freshman boys to pull out of class. He would then take them to his office, ask them inappropriate questions about sex and masturbation, and then sexually harass them. The lawsuit says that Flickinger also harassed boys at a summer camp at Bass Lake.
In 1972, according to the suit, a Memorial High student inadvertently reported Flickinger's predatory behavior to San Francisco church officials. Flickinger then told the boy he would be criminally prosecuted for making an allegedly false allegation, and bullied him into signing a document recanting his story.
Flickinger's predatory behavior continued when he was sent to the Diocese of San Jose, where others - including parents - noted the cleric's dangerous and inappropriate relationships with young boys over the next 35 years. At least one parent reported Flickinger's behavior to a lay San Jose church official in 2009, who confirmed that her own son thought the priest was "creepy." http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2011/07_08/2011_08_12_Sankin_DonFlickinger.htm
Since both allegations were made - the 1972 allegations to church officials and the current victim's report to law enforcement - Catholic officials in Fresno, San Jose and San Francisco have done little or nothing to warn parishioners, police, or the public about Flickinger, or limit his access to kids.
SNAP is hoping to reach out to other potential victims and alert parents in the Fresno Diocese of the serious public safety danger at the parish.
After being ordained in the Diocese of Fresno in 1964, Flickinger worked at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and Memorial High School until approximately 1971.
The victim is represented by attorney Tim Hale of Santa Barbara (805) 963-2345
Tim Lennon, SNAP San Francisco Leader, 415-312-5820, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director, 949-322 7434, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Barb Dorris, of St Louis, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-503-0003, email@example.com