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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

New lawsuit filed vs. notorious pedophile priest

It may be the 1st time he’s been sued individually

One of his victims will speak at news conference

Then Cardinal-Ratzinger refused to defrock proven predator

Vatican kept twice-convicted sex offender in priesthood; He kept molesting others

Cleric’s crimes were featured on recent CNN one hour special “What the Pope Knew”

SNAP urges Oakland’s bishop to post names of predator priests on diocesan website

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
-- disclose and discuss a new lawsuit against a notorious pedophile priest and the Oakland diocese,
-- urge others who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to come forward and call police,
-- blast Catholic officials for doing “little or nothing” to protect kids and help get him prosecuted, &
-- prod them to permanently post on the diocesan website the names of all local child molesting clerics.

When:
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 1:00 P.M. Pacific

Where:
Outside the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison Street, Oakland, CA 94612

Who:
Several clergy abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAPnetwork.org), including a Pinole woman who was molested by the notorious predator and a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time executive director

Why:
The victim in this new lawsuit was abused in 1995 by an Oakland diocesan priest, Fr. Stephen Kiesle, after Kiesle had already been defrocked.

This spring, long-secret records about Kiesle, obtained through litigation, were publicly disclosed. The documents prove that Pope Benedict (then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger) kept Kiesle as a priest despite repeated pleas from Oakland church officials to oust him and even after Kiesle had been convicted of molesting kids

Kiesle’s crimes, and the Vatican’s unwillingness to defrock him, were described in a CNN special one-hour documentary about the Pope’s role in the church’s sex abuse and cover up scandal. The program, entitled What the Pope Knew, was aired in prime time Saturday and Sunday.

According to a Boston-based research organization called BishopAccountability.org, “Kiesle has been accused of sexually abusing at least 15 boys and girls. He pleaded no contest in 1978 to lewd conduct for tying up and molesting two boys and received three years probation. He left the priesthood in 1981. Kiesle volunteered in youth ministry at a parish in the Oakland diocese for three years after being defrocked. He was sent to prison in 2004 for at least six years for sexually abusing a girl in 1995 at his Truckee vacation home.”

In August, civil lawsuits were filed on behalf of seven victims of Kiesle. One of those victims was Teresa Rosson, who is Kiesle's stepdaughter.

In 1981, armed with evidence of numerous sexual assaults against children, the Oakland Diocese petitioned then-Cardinal Ratzinger to remove Kiesle from the priesthood. In a reply four years later, Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) said that “for the good of the church,” he needed more time to consider the request. Ratzinger urged Oakland’s bishop to give Kiesle “as much paternal care as possible.”

Ordained in 1972 and defrocked in 1987, Kiesle worked at churches in Pinole (St. Joseph’s), Fremont (Santa Paula), Union City (Our Lady of the Rosary), and Oakland (St. Columba’s). He is now married and living in Walnut Creek CA where he is registered as a sex offender.

As a public safety measure, SNAP also wants Oakland’s bishop to do what 24 other bishops have done, and post on his website the names, whereabouts and priestly status of child molesting clerics who are or have been in the diocese. (According to an independent Boston-based research organization, BishopAccountabilty.org, there are 25 publicly accused Oakland diocesan child molesting clerics.)

SNAP notes that the actual number of alleged offenders is likely significantly higher because BishopAccountability.org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been lodge in the public domain – in civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.

In 2002, Baltimore became the first US diocese to disclose names. A good current example is the Philadelphia archdiocese: http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm. Here is a list of all the dioceses that have disclosed names: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm

Kiesle’s victims are represented by St. Paul MN attorney Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell), and Hayward attorney Rick Simons (510 351 6111). The victim in today’s suit is now in her mid-20s, is filing as “Jane Doe” and will NOT be at the news conference. The new suit is filed in Alameda County. Along with supporting documents, it is \available at www.AndersonAdvocates.com

A photo of Kiesle is available at BishopAccountability.org

Contact:
David Clohessy, SNAP Director, 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Joey Piscatelli, SNAP Bay Area Director 925 262 3699


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org
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