Fifty new reports filed against abusive priest
Fifty new reports filed against abusive priest
They also ‘out’ three publicly accused clerics
Victims urge others to contact Attorney General
Holding signs and childhood pictures at a sidewalk news conference, clergy abuse victims and an attorney will disclose
--that more than 50 women have now reported being molested by an Oakland priest, and
--the names of – and details about - at least three publicly and credibly accused abusive clerics who have been left off the diocese’s official ‘accused clerics.
They will also
--urge others who may be “suffering in silence, to also step forward, and
--push Oakland Catholic officials to do “aggressive outreach” to those who may have be hurt by clerics to report to law enforcement, and
--launch a special outside investigation into who in the church knew of or suspected and ignored or hid Fr. Breen’s crimes.
Thursday, April 18 at 1:00pm
Outside of the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St. in Oakland, CA
Several abuse victims, a Sacramento attorney who represents dozens of the accusers, and a Missouri man who was assaulted by a priest and is the former long time head of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
1) In November 2018, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra created a new website page asking anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse or has information regarding sexual misconduct by clergy members to fill out an online complaint or email ClergyAbuse@doj.ca.gov
Since then, more than 50 women, most still in northern California, have done so, disclosing child sexual abuse by serial perpetrator Fr. Vincent Breen. According to a 2005 news account, Fr. Breen may have molested 100 kids.
Oakland Catholic officials knew of Fr. Breen’s sexual abuse of children for years and did nothing.
Victims are urging Oakland church staff to “aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Fr. Breen’s crimes and encourage them to file reports with the Attorney General’s Office so that his complicit colleagues and supervisors might be exposed and held accountable for their horrific cover-ups.”
In 1967, Sharon McCann (then 13 years old) and her mother reported Fr. Breen’s sexual abuse of Sharon to Sister Jean Higgins of the diocese. But neither the nun nor her Oakland church supervisors reported the sexual abuse to any law enforcement agency or child protective services agencies. One local church official admitted hearing “rumors” of Fr. Breen’s sexual misdeeds in 1979. An investigation by Fremont Police concluded that Breen sexually abused at least eight girls in 1981. But it wasn’t until 2005 that Oakland diocesan officials publicly admitted Fr. Breen’s wrongdoing.
Breen, a San Francisco native, was at Holy Spirit parish in Fremont for 28 years (1953-1982), was ordained in the 1930s, ‘retired’ in 1982 (in exchange for not being prosecuted) and died in 1986.
(NOTE: The Attorney General’s investigation is apparently not solely focused on one specific faith group.)
2) In February, Oakland Bishop Michael Barber released a list of 45 accused clerics
However, SNAP has discovered and is disclosing the names of three publicly accused abusive cleric who are NOT on Barber’s ‘accused’ list. They are:
--Fr .Kenneth Hamilton, who was sued for alleged child sexual abuse in New Orleans in 2015. The crimes reportedly happened during the 1980s. In 2018, Louisiana Catholic officials disclosed that the suit was settled. Fr. Hamilton worked in the Oakland diocese from 2015 until at least 2017 at St. Columba’s parish. He may still be working there.
--Fr. Don Flickinger, who was ordained for the Fresno diocese. A 2011 civil lawsuit accused Fr. Flickinger of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in San Jose in 2001. It also claimed abuse in the San Francisco archdiocese and the Fresno dioceses over a period of 40 years, and that church authorities were aware. The filing included statements by many other witnesses and alleged victims. A second case was filed by a woman. Another lawsuit was filed in 2012. All three cases settled in 2013 byt in 2018, he was still a priest of the Fresno diocese, despite having been permanently banned from ministry in 2006.
Last year, he was put on the San Jose diocese's ‘accused’ list and this year he was put on a similar list by the Santa Rosa diocese, noting allegations reported in 2002, 2005 and 2006.
He worked in the Oakland Diocese in 1995-1996 time frame and is now in a retirement center. Santa Barbara attorney Tim Hale represents some of his victims.
--Fr. Thomas Thing, who was a Franciscan and worked at a parish in Walnut Creek while still a novitiate. He abused in Las Vegas and is on that diocese’s ‘accused’ list. He later became a religious brother, was accused in a 2004 civil suit of abusing at least one youngster in California. That same year, he was reportedly released by his religious order.
Fr. Thing was also was one of several accused priests named in a 1995 suit that later settled. In 2011, another lawsuit was filed in Nevada alleging abuse of one youth who was a seventh-grader in North Las Vegas. A year later, that suit was settled.
Dr. Joseph C. George, attorney for the victims (916) 802 7949 cell, (916) 641 7300 office, and David Clohessy, former executive director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314) 566 9790
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