Diocese of Oakland priest accused of child sexual abuse in a current lawsuit still in ministry in Rodeo

For immediate release September 29, 2023

Diocese of Oakland priest accused of child sexual abuse in a current lawsuit still in ministry in Rodeo

As far as SNAP can tell, the faithful in the parish were never alerted to the accusations and the cleric was never suspended

Survivors’ group thinks that this does not square with the promises of the Dallas Charter and prior actions by the Diocese

Victims and advocates urge Bishop Michael Barber to be transparent with the parishioners of his Diocese and the public

WHAT: Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and advocates will:

-- Discuss whether the failure of the Diocese of Oakland to notify the faithful that their priest was accused in a lawsuit for child sexual abuse is part of a deliberate strategy to keep the information secret;

-- Urge Bishop Michael Barber to come clean to the affected parishioners and let them know about the accusations; and

-- Ask the faithful to ponder how this omission squares with the promise of the Dallas Charter and the usual procedures of the Diocese in such cases.

WHEN: October 1, 2023, at 9:00 AM

WHERE: On the public sidewalk outside of St. Patrick Catholic Church, 907 Seventh Street, Rodeo

WHO: 4 to 5 clergy abuse victims and advocates, including survivors from the Oakland Diocese

WHY: An active Diocese of Oakland priest has been accused of child sexual abuse in a recently filed lawsuit. The clergyman, Fr. Larry Young, is still in ministry as the pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Rodeo despite the accusations.

In the wake of the 2002 Boston Globe stories on abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston, the Catholic bishops in the United States promised openness and transparency concerning accusations of child sexual abuse. Yet, it does not appear that parishioners of Fr. Young were ever made aware of the lawsuit against Fr. Young, nor was he ever suspended prior to the conclusion of the Diocesan investigation, as seems to have been the normal procedure.

Oakland Bishop Michael Barber defended his decision, claiming that he directed a former federal prosecutor to conduct an internal investigation, which found the accusation against Fr. Young “not credible.” Bishop Barber's response begs the question as to why there was no announcement. The group wonders how thorough an investigation could be without calling for victims and witnesses to come forward, especially since the plaintiff in the lawsuit was not interviewed? Finally, the survivors’ group questions why the sitting Diocesan Review Board was not entrusted with this probe? Survivors and advocates urge parishioners to pressure the Bishop to explain his lack of transparency, as well as to identify the investigator, and supply a copy of his report. 

When Oakland priest Fr. George Crespin was accused of child sexual abuse in 2005, he was suspended until the review board found the evidence "insufficient to support the allegation." In that case, the community was informed of the accusations, which Fr. Crespin denied. The priest has now been accused in three lawsuits filed in the recently closed civil window..

SNAP has no way of knowing whether or not the accusations against Fr. Young are true. The group knows that he has denied them. However, they also know that false claims of child sexual abuse are extremely rare. It seems to them that for the protection of all the boys and girls in the Diocese, the parishioners of St. Patrick, as well as all of the parishes where the priest worked, should have been notified of the contents of the complaint, and that the usual procedure of suspension prior to the conclusion of the internal investigation should have followed.

SNAP wonders why the 2002 promises of openness and transparency were ignored by Bishop Michael Barber in this case? It begs him to come clean to the parishioners in Rodeo, and in all the parishes where Fr. Young worked. The Bishop should visit each of these churches and beg anyone with information to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.

Victims and advocates also urge the parishioners of St. Patrick and the other churches where Fr. Young worked to ask questions about this situation. The Catholic faithful should be concerned that their Bishop may be keeping secrets about clergy sex crimes, just like in the bad old days before 2002.

According to the survivors’ group, five clerics accused of abusing children, and one accused of abusing adults, have worked at St. Patrick over the years. It is entirely due to the witness of brave survivors that this information has been publicly disclosed. We have nothing but respect for these courageous victims. 

SNAP believes that parishioners also need to be brave enough to start asking the hard questions and demanding answers. The future of Catholic boys and girls in the Diocese depends on their courage.

CONTACT: Tim Stier, SNAP Supporter and Former Priest in the Diocese of Oakland ([email protected], 510-557-4917), Dan McNevin, SNAP Board of Directors Treasurer ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP Northwest Leader ([email protected], 925-262-3699), Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento Area Leader, ([email protected], 530-908-3676), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President ([email protected], 814- 341-8386) 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org.)

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  • Melanie Sakoda
    published this page in Media Events 2023-10-22 22:18:23 -0500

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