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California Child Sexual Assault Attorneys 916-623-4914

Publicly accused Sacramento clerics who are 'under the radar'

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Fr. Laurence X. Brett, who is accused of abusing more than two dozen altar boys and others in CT, NM, MD, and CA. The Bridgeport diocese sent Fr. Brett to Servants of the Paraclete in NM in 1964 after parents of one victim complained to papal nuncio and Fr. Brett admitted the abuse. A settlement for $250,000 was paid in 1994 to two victims Fr. Brett molested in Sacramento CA.

From 1972-1974, he worked at a Baltimore school where at least 12 boys allege he abused them.

In 1993, then Bridgeport-Bishop Edward Egan removed Fr. Brett from ministry when a civil child sex abuse lawsuit was filed. That same year, he fled to the Caribbean island of Martinique but reportedly continued his contacts with children there. In 2002, reporters located Fr. Brett on the island but he fled again.

In 2002, he was included on the Baltimore archdiocese’s ‘accused’ list 9/25/02 and in 2017, he was put on the Santa Fe archdiocese’s ‘accused’ list.

--Fr. Melvin (Mel) Bucher, a Franciscan who worked at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Sacramento from 1977-1988. Ordained in 1961, he also spent time in one Washington city (Spokane), in three Oregon towns Troutdale and Salem) and four other California towns (Oakland, Hayward, San Luis Rey, and Oceanside) before reportedly retiring in 2006.

--Fr. Louis "Louie" Wayne Ladenburger, who was at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Sacramento (with a parochial school) from 1984-1985. Ordained a Franciscan in 1963, he worked in parishes, high schools and retreat centers in dioceses including Stockton CA, Oakland CA, Phoenix AZ, Portland OR, El Paso TX, Spokane WA, Seattle WA, and Reno-Las Vegas NV. Fr. Ladenburger earned a doctorate degree in divinity from the UC-Berkeley and became a licensed marriage and family as well as chemical dependency therapist.

In the 1980s, he was treated twice for what the Franciscans called "inappropriate professional behavior and relationships." Both times, he was allowed to return to ministry. In 1993, his order restricted Fr. Ladenburger's ministry after they had him undergo another psychological evaluation due to "heightened concern and new awareness of abuse issues." Ladenburger refused the restrictions and went on leave of absence.

He asked for a dispensation of his vows and was laicized by the Vatican in March 1996. He was hired as a therapist in 2006 by an Idahoschool for high-risk teenage boys. In 2007, he was fired after two boys accused him of sexual abuse, including fondling and oral sex. He admitted to abusing one of the boys. He was arrested in June and charged with three counts of sexual battery of a minor between the ages of 16 and 17. In a plea agreement in November 2007, Fr. Landenburger pleaded guilty to one count of felony sexual misconduct. He was sentenced to up to five years in prison, with the possibility of parole after six months.

--Fr. Michael M. Garry, who was accused by a New Jersey woman of repeatedly molesting and stalking her for thee years in 1950s and 1960s, beginning when she was eleven years old. The abuse included digital penetration and done under the guise of confession. Fr. Garry worked in the Sacramento diocese, Trenton diocese and the Newark archdiocese. A native of Ireland, he may have started as a Benedictine, was ordained in Rome, retired in 1981 and died in 1988.

--Fr. Jose Ribeiro, who worked at St. Elizabeth’s parish Sacramento (from 1975-1981). He was also at St. Clare's parish in Santa Clara(1975-1981), the University of San Francisco (1982-1991) and reportedly returned to his native Portugal in 1991.

In 2003, three men had filed suits alleging Ribeiro sexually abused them in 1960s in Concord. The following year, four more victims filed lawsuits against him. Earlier this year, he was put on the Oakland diocese's ‘acused’ list. In December, his Jesuit supervisors also ‘outed’ him.

--Fr. Carlton E. Whitten, who worked at Jesuit High School in Sacramento three times (from 1963-1965, from 1980-1987 and from 1992-1999). From 1990-1992, Fr. Whitten was also at the Jesuit High School Community of Sacramento in Carmichael.

Ordained in 1961, he worked in two Arizona cities (Phoenix and Peoria) two Washington towns (Port Townsend and White Salmon) and several other California cities (Los Gatos, San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo).

In 2007, Fr. Whitten was put on leave while the order investigated an allegation of child sexual abuse. He was included in the Los Angeles archdiocese’ list of priests accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. Fr. Whitten is believed to be living at the SacredHeart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos.

--Fr. Angelo C. Mariano, who worked at St. Ignatius parish in Sacramento in 1990. He also worked in San Jose and Los Gatos. In December, he was ‘outed’ by the Jesuits.

--Fr. Stephen E. Speciale who worked at Jesuit High School in Carmichael from 1979-1982.

He also spent time in Berkeley and San Jose. In December, he was ‘outed’ by the Jesuits.

--Fr. Charles J. Onorato, who was at Jesuit High School in Carmichael twice (from 1967-1970 and again from 1980-1987). He also spent time in Los Altos, Montecito and San Jose. In December, he was ‘outed’ by the Jesuits.

--Fr. Gunter Klingenbrunner, who was at Jesuit High School in Carmichael from 1984-1985. In December, he was ‘outed’ by the Jesuits.

--Fr. Philip Sunseri, who was at Jesuit High School in Carmichael from 1973-1975. He also spent time in Phoenix. In December, he was ‘outed’ by the Jesuits.

--Fr. William J. Wood, who was at Jesuit High School in Carmichael (from 1979–1984). He also spent time in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Los Gatos, San Jose and Santa Clara and abroad (Belgium and Italy). In December, he was ‘outed’ by the Jesuits.