Bay Area Catholic Teacher Arrested for Child Sexual Abuse, SNAP Calls for Action from Church Officials
Another case of child sexual abuse has hit the Bay Area Catholic community. We call on San Francisco’s Archbishop to reverse his refusal to be transparent with the people of Northern California and we hope that this latest story will bring more pressure from parishioners and the public.
Raymond E. Engeszer is a former teacher at Convent & Stuart Hall in San Francisco and The Athenian School in Danville. He is currently facing two charges of child sexual abuse from 2013. Convent & Stuart Hall is under the purview of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, one of the only dioceses in the entire United States that has so far refused to release a list of accused sex abusers. This must change.
By our count, this arrest is the 17th this year of a Catholic staffer in the United States on charges related to sexual abuse. This is yet another reminder that the abuse scandal is ongoing and that Church officials must do everything in their power to help prevent future cases of abuse.
Instead, Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone is doing everything in his power to avoid and ignore the problem. We know that abuse thrives in secrecy and that continuing the Catholic culture of obfuscate, ignore, and deny is a strategy that will lead only to short-term relief for current Archdiocesan officials but long-term hurt for parishioners and the public due to the continued perpetration of abuse and cover-up.
The only way for abuse to be rooted out is for sunlight to be let in. Archbishop Cordileone must release a list of accused bishops, priests, deacons, brothers, nuns, seminarians, and other church staffers and volunteers who have sexually abused children and the vulnerable. Parents and parishioners should join with our survivor community and demand that Catholic officials in San Francisco take this step that has been taken by nearly 180 of the US’ 196 dioceses. The Archdiocese of San Francisco is by far the largest diocese to refuse this simple request.
Additionally, the Archbishop should personally visit Convent & Stuart Hall and contact the families of every child who was at the school while Engeszer was employed, ensuring they are aware of the allegations and are encouraged to come forward to local law enforcement. Archbishop Cordileone must also explain what policies and procedures are used to vet staffers within the Archdiocese. It is important to know whether or not the Archdiocese of San Francisco has deficient background check policies or if they are in accordance with best practice, as we hope that they are.
We also want to remind people that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is currently investigating cases of clergy abuse throughout California and has a website available for victims and witnesses to make confidential reports. We encourage anyone who may have seen, suffered, or suspected abuse at the hands of Engeszer or any other church staffer in the Bay Area to come forward and make a report, whether by using this online reporting form or by sending an email to [email protected].
CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP California ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP California ([email protected], 925-708-6175) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)