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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex abuse victim files new lawsuit

It charges Oakland diocese with “aiding & abetting” crimes

Long time pedophile priest is accused of molesting dozens of girls

Monsignor worked in at least 6 California towns over a 50 year career

Support group urges others who ‘saw, suspected or suffered’ crimes to come forward

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a clergy sex abuse victim will
---disclose and discuss a new clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit against the Oakland Catholic diocese,
---urge the public & parishioners to ask their loved ones if they were hurt by the accused priest, &
---harshly criticize top church staff for “focusing on public relations instead of practical outreach” to those in pain.

WHEN
Tuesday, Nov. 9, 1:30 p.m. (Pacific time)

WHERE
Outside the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison Street in Oakland CAWHO

Several Bay Area adults who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
A new and somewhat unusual lawsuit is being filed in Alameda County. It charges that in 1980-1981, Monsignor Vincent Ignatius Breen sexually molested a girl when she was working in the rectory of Holy Spirit Church in Fremont. The suit also says that Oakland diocesan officials “knew Breen had an extensive history of sexually abusing Catholic minors” and “aided and abetted Breen’s criminal conduct in continuing to place him in work around children despite knowledge of his criminal propensities.”

It’s unusual because the suit says that Catholic school teachers had actual knowledge of Breen's criminal child sexual abuse, and instead of reporting to child protective services (as mandated by law), they instead obediently reported Breen to diocesan officials who did nothing to protect the kids. Had those teachers done their moral and civic duty, the suit claims, this victim and others would not have been molested by Breen.

In 1982, Breen resigned “ after police officers — called by parents — revealed that he'd fondled eight girls, ages 7 to 14,” according to the Mercury News. “As a condition of his resignation, no charges were filed against Breen.” http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/1987_12_31_Cannon_LocalDioceses.htm

At that time, a top diocesan official, Fr. William Macchi, admitted that he had heard “rumors” of Breen’s misdeeds three years earlier.

In 1978, several girls wrote a letter to the diocese saying they had been molested by Breen. Monsignor George Francis investigated the accusations, but no action was taken. It later emerged that Francis —also was accused of molesting at least nine young girls.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/1982_01_11_UnitedPressInternational_MonsignorVincent_Vincent_Breen_1.htm

Over a 50 year career in California, Breen worked in a number of cities and parishes, including Stockton (St. Mary’s), San Francisco (Nativity), Belmont (St. Joseph Military Academy), San Mateo (Serra High School for Boys), and Walnut Creek (St. Mary’s). According to a 2008 article in the Mercury News, he “also played a number of key administrative roles for the diocese, including stints on the school board from 1966 to 1970 and as a supervisor for other priests in southern Alameda County from 1965 to 1970.”

At no time, the suit maintains, did Oakland’s Catholic hierarchy “ever send an official, a member of the clergy, an investigator or any employee or independent contractor to Holy Spirit Church in Fremont to advise the parishioners either verbally or through a church bulletin that there were credible allegations against Monsignor Breen and to request that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered sexual abuse to come forward and file a report with the police department. Rather, Defendant Diocese remained silent.”

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2008/03_04/2008_03_31_Dennis_PriestsServed.ht

Breen was ordained in 1936 and died in 1986. The first civil suit against him was apparently filed in 2003. A photo of Breen (and his full work history) is available at BishopAccountability.org

The victim in today’s lawsuit is represented by Sacramento attorney Joseph C. George, PhD, who has handled hundreds of child sex abuse cases by clergy, therapists and others in positions of power over and access to kids (916 442 7100, 916 802 7949 cell).

CONTACT
Melanie Sakoda 925 708 6175, melanie@pokrov.org, Tim 415 826 4852, David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell), SNAPclohessy@aol.com


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