- Victims blast Archbishop: Stop deceit about predator
- Last summer, archbishop let him work at Sunday school
- But prelate claimed that accused priest "didn't work with kids"
- SF Catholic officials knew about child molesting cleric for 40 years
- New Fresno's new bishop must "come clean" about offender, group begs
- And SF Archbishop also must be held accountable for abuse cover-up, they say
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hold a news conference outside of a court hearing involving an accused predator priest. They will:
-- Blast SF archdiocese officials for sending misleading press releases about him,
-- Explain how Catholic officials knew of predator's behavior for 40 years, and
-- Beg that Archdiocese and Fresno church officials be held accountable for child sex crimes and cover-ups
Thursday, February 2 at 9 am
(Victims will also be available after the hearing)
Outside of San Francisco Superior Court
400 McAllister Street, San Francisco
The hearing will begin at 9:30 am in Department 302
2-3 men and women who are members of self help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation's largest support group for men and women who have been violated in religious and institutional settings.
Victims of sexual abuse are criticizing the San Francisco Archbishop for misleading the public about his knowledge and the work assignments of a predator priest. At a hearing today in downtown San Francisco, church officials will try and escape accountability for covering up for Fr. Don Flickinger, whom Archdiocese have known was a predator since at least 1972.
Flickinger, who has been now named in three child sex abuse lawsuits http://www.cbs47.tv/news/local/story/Former-Fresno-Priest-Accused-of-Sexual-Abuse/hQ2_AbBb3UurZkkbvRCdMw.cspx?rss=153, worked at St. Paul's parish in San Francisco as late as last summer. When the first public allegations against the priest became known, Archbishop George Niederauer issued a press release stating that Flickinger was not a priest of the Archdiocese and was retired at the parish http://www.sfarchdiocese.org/media/media-releases/August%2011%2C%202011%20-%20Rev.%20Don%20Flickinger.pdf.
Court documents and screen shots of the parish website show however—in sharp contrast to archdiocese statements—Flickinger worked closely with families, participated in the children's Sunday School program, and was an active priest at the parish.
Flickinger's whereabouts are unknown and he is currently a priest of the Fresno Diocese.
Members of SNAP believe that the Archdiocese is trying to scare victims into silence and protect a predator.
"Fr. Flickinger has a 40-year history of inappropriate behavior, three lawsuits and dozens of witnesses to his actions ," said Tim Lennon, SNAP San Francisco leader. "But instead of trying to reach out help his potential victims, the Archdiocese tries to escape accountability, concocts a dangerous and misleading press release and the Diocese of Fresno has done nothing to reach out to the hundreds of children who may have been at risk of abuse. This is tragic."
SNAP is also urging new Fresno Bishop Armando X. Ochoa (being installed today, Thursday), to "come clean" about Flickinger's past crimes and current whereabouts, and reach out to anyone who may have been hurt by the disgraced priest. Ochoa will be installed today, who despite being sued by former parishioners in El Paso http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=97163da9-3182-47f8-a638-ba937515e933.
"Church officials have known since 1972 that Flickinger is a threat, yet Fresno church officials have done nothing to keep kids safe," Lennon said. "On his first day of work in Fresno, Bishop Ochoa could take the simple, immediate and prudent step to rpotect kids - by turning over every document he has on Flickinger to law enforcement."
The other child abuse and cover-up lawsuits against Flickinger charge that church officials in three dioceses—Fresno, San Jose and San Francisco—knew about Flickinger's predatory behavior for more than 40 years and did little or nothing to protect kids. Court documents say that Archdiocese of San Francisco officials learned that Flickinger was a predator in 1972, almost 40 years before his assignment at St. Paul's.
Flickinger's predatory behavior continued when he was sent to the Diocese of San Jose, where others—including parents—noted the cleric's dangerous and inappropriate relationships with young boys over the next 35 years. At least one parent reported Flickinger's behavior to a lay San Jose church official in 2009, who confirmed that her own son thought the priest was "creepy." http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2011/07_08/2011_08_12_Sankin_DonFlickinger.htm
After being ordained in the Diocese of Fresno in 1964, Flickinger worked at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and Memorial High School until approximately 1971. His other assignments have included parishes and schools in Fresno, San Jose and San Francisco.
The victims are represented by attorney Tim Hale of Santa Barbara (805) 963-2345
Tim Lennon, SNAP San Francisco Leader, 415-312-5820, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director, 949-322 7434, email@example.com
Barb Dorris, of St Louis, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-503-0003, firstname.lastname@example.org