Two Oakland Catholic schools to close; SNAP suggests the properties be sold to compensate CSA victims

For immediate release: February 26, 2024


The Catholic Diocese of Oakland is closing two of its elementary schools, St.Anthony School in Oakland and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont. The Diocese filed for bankruptcy protection last year in the wake of close to 400 lawsuits for child sexual abuse from the 2019-2021 civil window. SNAP believes that the school properties should be sold to help finance settlements with those who were abused in the Diocese as children and who are now seeking restitution and justice.

The reason for both closures was said to be declining enrollment and operating deficits. In St. Anthony’s case, the Diocese also blamed rising homelessness, unemployment and human trafficking in the surrounding neighborhood for the school’s enrollment dwindling to just 65 students. We cannot help but add that both campuses harbored multiple perpetrators accused of child sexual abuse.

St. Anthony, located in a largely Spanish-speaking community, had 11 accused abusers from 1951 until 2001.  In fact, during that 50-year span of time there were only 11 years when there were no accused perpetrators on campus.  It seems clear to us that hundreds of children who attended St. Anthony were endangered for decades, while their parents paid to send them to the campus.

Our Lady of Guadalupe was created from a merger between St. Leonard and Santa Paula. From 1967 until 2016, 49 years, the school's combined campuses were home to 10 accused abusers, many of whom overlapped. There were some years when as many as three accused perpetrators were harbored.

Among the notorious, prolific, powerful, or infamous accused associated with these two schools and parishes were Fr. Stephen M. Kiesle, Fr. Donald Eugene Broderson, Fr. Robert E. Freitas, Fr. John G. Garcia, Fr. Antonio Valdivia, Fr. Alex Castillo, and Fr. Ray Breton. 


Fr. Castillo fled the country in 2019 while being investigated for crimes committed at Our Lady of Guadalupe. 


Frs. Valdivia and Garcia are accused in the same lawsuit. (Case # 22CV024008) They worked together at St. Anthony. In addition, they shared the job of Vicar for the Spanish-speaking, likely giving them access to every Spanish-speaking child in the Diocese. Both have multiple victims in multiple decades.


Frs. Broderson, Kiesle, and Freitas have over 100 victims among them, most from their years in Fremont.


Fr. Breton was the Diocesan chancellor while at St. Anthony. He then became Oakland's top canon lawyer. We cannot help but suspect that Fr. Breton, an accused perpetrator, used his powerful positions to cover-up child sexual abuse.


These two school locations, in all, employed at least nineteen priests accused of abusing children. The school sites should be sold, with the proceeds earmarked for the 377 Oakland Diocese victims currently seeking justice and restitution. Bishop Michael Barber should also open his secret files to tell the public about any other abuser at either location who has not yet been revealed.

CONTACT: Dan McNevin, Treasurer, SNAP Board of Directors ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP Northwest Leader ([email protected], 925-262-3699), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175),  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, President, SNAP Board of Directors ([email protected], 814- 341-8386) 

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

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