Survivor of Clergy Childhood Sexual Abuse Speaks Out Against the Diocese of Oakland and Urges Victims to File Reports With the Attorney General’s Office--Church Knew of Breen’s Childhood Sexual Abuse and Did Nothing.
At a news conference, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by long-time perpetrator Father Vincent Breen speaks out against the Diocese of Oakland and urges any survivors of clergy childhood sexual abuse to report to the Attorney General’s office.
- The Diocese of Oakland knew of Father Vincent Breen’s sexual abuse of children
- In 1967, Sharon McCann (then 13 years old) and her mother reported Breen’s sexual abuse of Sharon to Sister Jean Higgins, the principal of Holy Spirit
- The Diocese of Oakland failed to report the sexual abuse to any law enforcement agency and child protective services agencies
- Fremont Police Department concluded that Father Vincent Breen sexually abused at least eight (8) young girls in 1981.
- Now, on November 23, 2018, the Diocese of Oakland announced that it would not release a list of priests credibly abused of childhood sexual abuse until 2019 supposedly because the Diocese had not been in touch with some victims “in years” and that “It’s a situation in which you don’t want to re-traumatize people, because even though their names aren’t going to be there, the name of their perpetrator could be released.”
- The Diocese of Oakland knew of Sharon McCann’s report and knew of the identities of the young girls in the 1981 Fremont Police Report and never contacted any victim
Today, Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.
Outside of the Cathedral of Christ the Light
2121 Harrison St.
Oakland, CA 94612
- Sharon McCann, survivor of clergy childhood sexual abuse by Breen, who reported Breen’s childhood sexual abuse
- Dr. Joseph C. George, attorney for survivors of childhood sexual abuse
- Melanie Sakoda, SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) board member and advocate for survivors of clergy sexual abuse
- Tim Stier, former ordained priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, now author and advocate for survivors of clergy sexual abuse
- Dr. Joseph C. George (916) 802-7949 cell, (916) 641-7300 office
- Joseph C. George, Jr. (415) 807-3744 cell, (916) 641-7300 office
- Melanie Sakoda (925) 708-6175 cell
- Tim Stier (510) 557-4917 cell
Bishops, from Dioceses across the United States, formulated a plan to announce that they would release a list of priests who had been credibly accused of childhood sexual abuse in their respective Diocese in order to preclude Attorney General’s from convening Grand Juries similar to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury (whose report released on August 14, 2018 was extremely damaging to the Catholic Church). Bishops across the country sent out letters to parishioners within their Dioceses expressing the shame they felt over the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report and the actions of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Bishops wrote to parishioners about their heavy hearts as they continue to confront the painful, shameful evil perpetrated by priests and bishops who betrayed the trust placed in them by the People of God.
Just over two months after the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, on October 26, 2018, 60 Minutes did an exposé on a whistleblower who copied documents verifying that Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo withheld the names of dozens of priests with childhood sexual abuse accusations against them from a report released in March 2018. Unfortunately for the Bishops in the United States, an announcement was made on November 11, 2018 at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, that the Vatican asked that they hold off on voting on several measures to address sexual abuse by the clergy, including a new code of conduct and creation of a special commission to review complaints against bishops, until after a February gathering with bishops from around the world convened by Pope Francis to deal with the clergy childhood sexual abuse scandal that continues to mushroom.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the Attorney General’s office will begin collecting reports from California residents about clergy sexual abuse (and wide-scale cover-ups and protection of perpetrators by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church), a likely first step in the Attorney General’s office opening an investigation of clergy sexual abuse similar to the scathing grand jury probe in Pennsylvania earlier this year.
The Attorney General’s office created a website page devoted to clergy sex abuse, asking anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse or has information regarding sexual misconduct by clergy members to fill out an online complaint or email ClergyAbuse@doj.ca.gov. Fortunately, the Attorney General’s investigation is apparently not limiting information gathering to one specific faith community.
Now, on November 23, 2018 the Diocese of Oakland announced that they would not release a clergy sex abuse report as promised until 2019. The Diocese of Oakland however reached a new level of desperation when Helen Osman, an Oakland Diocese spokeswoman, announced that a reason for the delay was that the Diocese had not been in touch with some victims “in years”. “It’s a situation in which you don’t want to re-traumatize people, because even though their names aren’t going to be there, the name of their perpetrator could be released.”
The Fremont Police Report dated December 11, 1981, found that Breen sexually abused at least eight girls, ages 7 to 14. The abuse ranged from fondling and French kissing to digital penetration. Multiple failures of mandated reporters at Holy Spirit were noted. The Diocese of Oakland, law enforcement, and the Alameda County District Attorney’s office reached an “agreement” that no criminal charges would be filed if Breen retired, left the area, and sought counseling.We represent 3 of the 8 victims identified in the 1981 Police Report and none of them have been contacted by any representative from the Diocese of Oakland in 37 years. Our clients doubt that any Breen victim has ever been contacted by a representative of the Diocese. Our clients ask that any survivor of clergy sex abuse by Breen or any other priest in the Diocese, file a report with the Attorney General’s office even in the extraordinary event that they are contacted by anyone from the Diocese.