SNAP Reacts to the Release of Names of Accused Clerics in the Diocese of Oakland
For immediate release: February 18, 2019
The Diocese of Oakland has finally released its list of clergy and religious brothers “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children. There are 45 names on the list, including at least 5 clerics who have never been publicly identified before: Thomas Duong Binh-Minh, Hilary Cooper, Patrick Finnegan, Daniel McLeod and Virendra Coutts.
However, we believe that there are many more men who have been publicly identified and have an association with the Diocese of Oakland who have not been included on the list. We are working on compiling a complete list and plan to release it at a press conference on Friday.
Most disturbingly, according to BishopAccountability, the watchdog group which is documenting the Catholic abuse scandal in this country, one of those missing men may still be working at an Oakland parish.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans settled a lawsuit last year that alleged that Fr. Kenneth Hamilton, a Society of the Divine Word religious order priest, had sexually abused a boy at a parish in that Archdiocese in the 1980s. The priest has denied the allegations. The website of St. Columba Catholic Church in Oakland says that Fr. Hamilton is working there as “clergy support” for the parish. However, a church official told the New Orleans Advocate in December that the clergyman was not there.
Catholic officials in Oakland must immediately determine whether Fr. Hamilton is still in ministry in their Diocese, and if he is, they must remove him at once.
We are also highly skeptical of the Dioceses' claim that "There has been no credible allegation of abuse of a minor by a priest or deacon of the Diocese of Oakland since 1988."It has been demonstrated in Illinois and even here in this state that church officials can not always be trusted to disclose all the names or to determine which allegations are "credible."
The Diocese also needs to expand its list of diocesan priests to include work histories, information about current whereabouts and, most critically, when the diocese first learned of the allegations and when they finally took action. They should also provide additional information about extern and order priests, as well as the religious brothers included on the list. Certainly, church officials must have more information about these men, even if only where they worked within the Diocese. Only by including all this information can we get a clearer picture of what went wrong in Oakland and what must be done now to protect children and prevent abuse.
CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP California ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP California ([email protected], 925-262-3699) Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Secretary ([email protected], 925-708-6175) Zach Hiner, 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)