Diocese of Monterey Releases List of Clergymen Accused of Abuse
For immediate release, January 2, 2019
It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering in silence. Seeing that they are not alone helps victims heal, and could also compel others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward.
What is not helpful for survivors is when church officials carefully curate these lists, leaving off names of priests who are accused because they do not meet the diocese’s ever-changing and nebulous definition of “credible.” We suspect such curation happened in this case.
The independent watchdog organization Bishop Accountability has listed on their site four additional clergymen that were not included in the Diocese of Monterey’s report. Those names are: Stuart B. Campbell, Vincent Dwyer, Alberto Mengon, and Joseph Pachecho. The victim of one of these men, Fr. Dwyer, received a settlement from the priest’s abbey. Fr. Dwyer was also included on a list the Diocese turned over to the Monterey District Attorney in 2002. It is completely unclear to us why Fr. Dwyer was not included on this list.
But there are other notable names missing from this list:
- Fr. Don D. Flickinger: Fr. Flickinger served in over 20 places and in seven dioceses, including in the Diocese of Monterey from 1988 to 1989 at the Star of the Sea Church in Santa Cruz and then again from 2007 to 2009 at St. Clare’s Retreat in Soquel, CA. The priest has been accused of abuse, sued, and settled lawsuits in at least two dioceses in California. Additionally, he was listed as “permanently banned from ministry” on the list released by the Diocese of San Jose in October 2018.
- Fr. Titian "Jim" Miani, S.D.B.: Fr. Miani has been accused of abuse in at least three countries, including five California dioceses, as well as sued, and even arrested. The priest worked at St. Francis School in Watsonville in 1955-1957.
- Fr. Stephen (Steve) Whelan, S.D.B.: Fr. Stephen Whelan worked in at least four California dioceses, including St. Francis School in Watsonville from 1979-1980. In a 2003 civil lawsuit, Fr. Whelan was accused of sexually abusing a child from 1970 to 1971 at St. John Bosco High School in Richmond, California. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the survivor.
The omission of these seven priests from the Monterey list casts further doubt on the criteria used by church officials in determining who to include. We believe that there are other names that are missing.
This is yet another example that follows the playbook seen recently in places like Buffalo and Illinois, in which church officials release lists in the name of transparency but are found to be hiding something. We hope that, for the sake of not only survivors, but also the truth and the public’s right to know it, that California’s attorney general will look closely at this disclosure by the Diocese of Monterey and compare it to records and files seized through the course of an independent investigation.
We also hope that, once formally installed, Bishop Daniel Garcia will expand the list to include all clergy who have allegations against them, and that the complete list will be posted permanently on Diocesan and parish websites. We would also like to see the list expanded to include nuns, brothers and lay employees. Bishop Accountability already has one name that should be included on that expanded list, Br. Marcos Capistran Chavira, who was accused of abusing at least one male student at Palma High School in Salinas.
Finally, while we appreciate that the Diocese acknowledged the dates when allegations against each clergyman was reported, Bishop Garcia should also provide more information about what actions the Diocese took in response to the allegations, and when that action was taken, as well as the current or last known whereabouts of each accused person.
CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP California (firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP California (email@example.com, 925-262-3699) Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-708-6175) Zach Hiner, Executive Director (email@example.com, 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)