Protesters Bring Message to Santa Barbara
Melissa Evans - Santa Barbara News-Press
January 8, 2007
It's been a long five years for the Barragan brothers.
Eric, Edgar and Manuel Barragan were among the first victims of
child sex abuse to make allegations against a Southern California
priest after the sweeping scandal erupted with a story in the Boston
Globe on Jan. 6, 2002.
Even though the brothers received a monetary settlement last month,
"the church still hasn't done everything it could do,"
said Manuel Barragan, who lives in Santa Paula.
He and his two young sons, plus his brother, Eric, stood outside
the Santa Barbara Mission on Sunday, the five-year anniversary of
the Boston Globe stories, handing out fliers calling for additional
The local protest was one of dozens held across the country this
weekend by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, an
advocacy group made up of victims formed after the scandal broke
five years ago.
Even though the abuse had gone on for decades, the publicity brought
national attention to the problem, spurring major reforms in the
nation's largest church.
Despite the reforms, and news of some settlements, "innocent
kids and vulnerable adults are still at risk and church officials
are still reckless and secretive," Barbara Blaine, founder
of SNAP, said in a statement.
The protesters carried posters featuring families hurt by two priests
in particular: The Rev. Ryan Erickson, a Wisconsin priest who murdered
two men in 2002 when one of the men confronted him with allegations
of abuse; and the Rev. Robert Larsen, a Kansas priest whose sex
abuse caused some of his victims to commit suicide.
The Barragan brothers received money from a $60 million settlement
last month involving the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which includes
Santa Barbara, and 45 alleged victims. Roughly 500 of the civil
cases against the archdiocese remain unresolved.
Most of the parishioners leaving church Sunday walked quietly by
the protesters after Mass at 10 a.m. One woman, who didn't want
her name used, wondered how much longer the church would have to
pay for past mistakes.
"I feel so bad for the victims," she said, "but
it seems that it may be time to move on. I'm not sure how much more
the church can really do. . . The whole thing is tragic."