SNAP Calls for More Information as Diocese of Oakland Quietly Adds Names of Abusive Clergy to their List
The Diocese of Oakland has updated their list of “credibly accused” clergy. However, we are very disappointed that they apparently did so without notifying anyone.
The entire point of these lists is to keep parishioners and the public informed. When people are aware that those listed have been accused, they know to look within their communities for survivors who might be struggling in silence. When victims see the name of the person that abused them acknowledged, it often helps them realize that they are not alone and encourages them to come forward and get help.
We urge Church officials in Oakland to publicly announce the changes they have made to their list, explain why these eighteen names have been added, and renew their calls for survivors, witnesses, and whistle blowers to come forward and make a report to police and prosecutors.
While the revised list of 63 comes closer to the truth, it still falls short. Among the missing is Fr. David Mendoza-Vela, who is currently in jail and indicted for felony sex abuse against a child from his San Lorenzo church. Missing also is Fr. Alex Castillo, the former Latino outreach coordinator and a rising star who fled the country after he was interviewed by Oakland Police regarding an accusation against him.
Also missing are another 90 or so clerics with ties to the diocese, such as Fr. J. Roger Lucey. Fr. Lucey was a Jesuit priest who moved to Oakland and worked here for twenty years. He has been accused of abuse in two locations in the Midwest during the time before his relocation. In addition, Fr. Donald Flickinger's name is not included. Fr. Flickinger is a Fresno priest who moved among seven dioceses in California and has been sued in at least three of those places.
There are also newly released names that should be added to the Oakland list. The Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara recently put out a list of "credibly accused" friars. Two of those men worked in the Oakland Diocese and are apparently accused of abuse during those years, Friars Samuel Cabot and FelipeBaldonado. For the sake of honesty and transparency, Bishop Michael Barber and Chancellor Stephen Wilcox should tell us what they know about these men and conduct outreach at the schools and parishes where they spent time.
We continue to believe 150 or more clerics with ties to Oakland have been publicly accused of abuse, either in Oakland or elsewhere. The Diocese's recent update helps to close that gap, but a gap still exists. Until the list is complete there is no real transparency. Moreover, the public is mislead and victims are not supported when a Diocese favors self-protection over the greater good.
CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP Board Member (firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP California (email@example.com, 925-262-3699) Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator, (firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-708-6175), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (email@example.com, 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)