Letter to Bishop Michael Barber-Diocese of Oakland-SNAP has identified 227 publicly accused perpetrators


December 13, 2022


SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

PO Box 16376

Chicago, IL, 60616


Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, SJ

Diocese of Oakland

2121 Harrison Street, Suite 100

Oakland, CA 94612


Dear Bishop Barber,

We are writing to you because, so far, SNAP has identified 227 publicly accused perpetrators associated with the Diocese of Oakland, a stark contrast from your current list which only includes 65 names. Our list has been created through careful study of documents in the public domain, including culling the lists released by other Catholic dioceses and religious orders. We are sending you this complete list and ask that you take our research and use it to update your own list.

While we have strived very hard for accuracy, as you review our list if you find we have mistakenly included a name, please let us know why you believe we have erred. We will then modify our list if we agree.

We suspect that more names are likely coming because of the still open civil window in California. Right now, our list includes 20 newly accused who lived or worked in your Diocese. There will likely be a flurry of new lawsuits filed before the window closes on December 31, 2022. Only 20% of the 1100 known cases are in the public domain and Oakland is named in 54 individual lawsuits. If the trend holds, ultimately Oakland will likely be associated with several hundred lawsuits and dozens of new accused perpetrators.

In the current open window, 41 alleged abusers associated with the Oakland Diocese are being named as perpetrators so far, either in Oakland or other Northern California locations. Br. Sal Billante, for example, worked in Oakland from 1964 to 1972 according to the Official Catholic Directory and various published work histories. He is named in at least 22 lawsuits ranging from 1964 to 1989. While there is no new litigation against Oakland yet, he was working in your Diocese for several of those 25 years. Despite these now-public accusations, Br. Billante was only sidelined in 1989 when he was arrested.

The Oakland Diocese is in fact connected to three of what appears to be this cycle’s most prolific abusers: Br. Billante, Fr. Stephen Kiesle, and Msgr. Vincent Breen. Each of these men not only abused while in Oakland but are also on other lists compiled by SNAP. All three were arrested, but apparently, none were ever reported to law enforcement by their bishops or provincials.

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Twenty Years Post Dallas - The Limitations of the Charter

Twenty years ago, the American Catholic Church lauded itself for establishing essential norms that the authors believed would eliminate the problem of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up within the institution. While the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People – colloquially referred to as the “Dallas Charter” – did create new strictures that would aid in identifying and removing priests who abused children, it failed to go far enough to actually make a difference in solving the problems that, we believe, are at the true root of the Catholic sex abuse scandal.

Letters from Europe: French Survivors Organizations Meeting of October 8, 2022

Ever since he took on the job in March 2021 your Europe Correspondent (based in the southwest of France near Lourdes) has struggled to establish contacts with survivors' associations in the country.  This is because over the years a multitude of micro associations have come and gone.  When I say "micro" I mean groups with typically a dozen members or so - with several of them set up to deal with one particular offender in one small geographic area. 

Still, a dozen of these associations, aware of the harm caused by their fragmentation,   decided to gather on the occasion of the first anniversary of the release of the bombshell "CIASE Report" on the sexual abuse of minors in the Church over the last several decades. I had established enough contacts that I was invited to attend the meeting which took place under tight security in the ornate Paris town hall on Saturday, October 8.  The security reflects the fact that survivors' "coming out"  is often met with hostility by a society with deep catholic roots that has difficulty coming to terms with the appalling crimes committed by the clergy.  

The purpose of the meeting was to get to know each other and start thinking about how to unite a disparate movement whose members have different agendas and purposes.  An important divide exists between associations/survivors who stay close to the "faith" while others have broken away.  (This happens elsewhere including in the US).

Following the release of the CIASE Report, the Church has set up "Reparations" commissions charged with assessing individual levels of financial compensation when statutes of limitations have run out.  This was a central theme during the meeting and confirmed to me that unlike what I think is the case in the US  French survivors are deeply uncomfortable with the "monetization/quantification" of their trauma and pain.   They are also unhappy with the slow pace at which compensation are decided. 

The "Reparations" discussions revolve around the arbitrary maximum figure of 60,000€ - roughly the same figure in dollars.  Jean-Marc Sauvé, the thoughtful head of the CIASE commission was present at the meeting and was generally well-received.  In an unsurprising but disappointing pique of anti-Americanism has was dismissive of the large payments in the US - complaining that much of the money went to lawyers and that statutes of limitations were shockingly short in the US (in France they are of the order of 10-20-30 years depending on the crime).

Jean-René, who represents a survivors association in the Loire Region showed an interest in my  "Hall of Atonement", which documents the Church's efforts to atone for its crimes through plaque etc. In fact, Jean-René was instrumental in a plaque placed in the Luçon cathedral and described in the "Hall".  The text is more a "prayer" laced with much religious jargon than a show of repentance.  The prayer caused consternation with its call for mercy aimed at survivors but also at perpetrators.  This interest moved me to add a French translation to the Hall.

The organizers of the meeting were anxious not to rush into anything - so no concrete decision was made art the end of the day - one typical problem being those little fiefdoms are reluctant to merge into something bigger.   These folks are media-savvy and several media outlets were invited to a press conference at the end of the day,  resulting in nationwide coverage of the event.

 Despite my representing an American association I was warmly received at the meeting and offered assistance if SNAP can in any way help French survivors get organized.  But cultural differences and sensitivities abound and are paramount.

Marc Artzrouni

The Sex Scandal Rocking Japan's Catholic Church | Violation

In Japan, Catholics make up less than 1% of the population. Despite the small numbers, allegations of sexual abuse have surfaced against Catholic clergymen in recent years. Mrs Harumi Suzuki is one of the first few in Japan to speak out against the sexual abuse she experienced when consulting with a priest at the church back in 1977. In September 2020, she filed an official lawsuit against the Sendai’s Catholic Church, seeking around $77,000 in damages, along with an official apology. She speaks to VICE World News about her experience and the impact the incident has had on her mental health.

VICE Asia - Full segment can be viewed here - 

SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: Supporting Those Egregiously Harmed: Jake Anderson

This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.

The SNAP community includes those who tragically have experienced sexual abuse by religious and other institutional authorities, the family members of those who were abused, the advocates for our cause, and those who support SNAP because of the healing services and programs we provide. Though not a victim of sexual abuse himself, Jake Anderson of Chicago, IL, has been a sustaining donor of SNAP because of our mission to protect vulnerable children, teenagers and adults, to heal those who have been, in Jake’s words, “egregiously harmed” by clergy sexual abuse, and to expose the truth about the effects of abuse and those who should be held accountable for victimization in religious organizations.

SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: We’re Ready to Believe You: Dan Frondorf

This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.

At the age of 17, Dan Frondorf was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in his Cincinnati community. For 20 years, Dan kept his abuse a secret, out of shame and out of fear of not being believed. Dan told no one what he endured, not even his parents. However, in 2002, a story came out in the news of another man who had been abused by the very same priest. Shocked by the news and overwhelmed with anger that he was not the only one, Dan finally told his wife what happened to him. He also began to share the details of his experience with other people.

Following the 2002 media article, Dan eventually learned that more than 40 men had been abused by this cleric. Many of those who had been sexually molested were friends and acquaintances who Dan knew well from his high-school years. The attorney for the case assembled all the abuse survivors together for an impromptu get-together to share their stories. At this meeting, Dan first met David Clohessy, SNAP's National Director at the time, who had helped the attorney to organize the meeting.

Brave Bishop Calls Out Bishop, Speaks of Canon Law

From the

Bishop Emmanuel Bushu Calls Out Bishop Michael Bibi for Restoring Child Rapist to Ministry

by: Matthew David

Following in the footsteps of St. Paul, Bishop Emeritus Emmanuel Bushu is calling out his successor for restoring a child abuser to ministry while violating Canon Law in an on the record interview about the responsibilities of Catholic Bishops.

Bishop Emeritus Emanuel Bushu of Cameroon was asked to retire by Pope Francis upon his 75th birthday, on December 28th of 2019. At the same time, Pope Francis selected the young Auxillary Bishop Michael Bibi of Bamenda (age 48 at the time) to replace Bp. Bushu as apostolic administrator of the Buea diocese.

Within months of being appointed apostolic administrator, Bishop Bibi restored an admitted child rapist priest to ministry, yet cancelled 88 innocent priests, deacons and seminarians.

Bishop Bibi’s decrees impoverished these ordained men (and blocked the ordination of the seminarians), cutting their pay to zero, eliminating their health coverage, even going so far as telling the faithful to have nothing to do with them while he investigated the procedural validity of their “lay associations”.

On February 16th, 2022, he issued a decree banishing them from his diocese with only six days to leave.

Citing concerns that the Catholic University Institute of Buea (CUIB) was operating independent from the diocese, Bishop Bibi removed the entire board of the CUIB contrary to their corporate statutes, worked with a bank manager who was his friend to take control of the bank accounts against the wishes of the signers, and withheld money from orphans, according to ongoing litigation in civil court and direct correspondence.

With each of these actions, Bishop Bibi has publicly cited Canon Law as a basis for them.

On April 15th, Bishop Emeritus Emmanuel Bushu provided an interview with this journalist detailing the responsibilities of a Catholic Bishop under Canon Law, speaking specifically to these kinds of topics that are afflicting the people of the Buea diocese.

The full interview can be heard here.

SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: Many Hands Make Light Lifting: Dan McNevin

This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.

In the early 1970’s from the age of 10 to 13 years old, Dan McNevin of Fremont, California, was groomed and abused by his parish priest, Father James A. Clark. For years Dan felt persistent shame and confusion. He abandoned his faith and he believed he was the only boy to have experienced such abuse by Clark, who, unbeknownst to Dan, was already on probation for a sexual felony when Clark was assigned to Dan’s parish. Later, Dan would learn that his brother had also been systematically sexually assaulted by Father Clark.

In 2002 when the Boston Spotlight scandal made headlines and the California legislature opened its first retroactive window, Dan, then a 42-year-old adult, contacted the Oakland Diocese hoping to learn about Clark and whether Clark had been moved around similar to the Spotlight scandal. The Oakland chancellor lied to him, saying Oakland “was not like Boston”. Dan discovered the lie through a media outlet reported that other Oakland priests were shuffled from place to place. At that point, Dan filed a lawsuit to seek the truth through the secular court system; the chancellor could lie to him without reprisal, but not if under oath. The lies he heard as an adult opened his eyes to an evil nearly as great as the abuse; the systemic dishonesty still persistent in the church, and he saw that dangers persisted, so reforms had to be forced upon the bishops running the show. It was through the deposition process that he discovered Clark was already a convicted felon. The discovery of that lie meant the bishop had lied to others, and as result, 56 cases settled on the same day.

New Book Release: Clergy Abuse within the Serbian Orthodox Church

To buy this book, go here: [email protected]

A look at Clergy Abuse within the Serbian Orthodox Church from Bojan Jovanovic

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