Alleged crimes took place at boys’ home, group says
SNAP blasts bishop for leaving some off his ‘accused’ list
Two who’ve been ‘omitted’ are ‘notoriously abusive bishops’
Holding signs and childhood photos at a news conference, victims and advocates will disclose that two local men have reported their abuse by a Sonoma cleric, and have filed a formal complaint with the state attorney general.
They will also blast Santa Rosa’s Catholic bishop for refusing to put the names of two credibly accused abusive clerics on his list of ‘accused’ priests.
And they’ll draw attention to three other accused clerics who worked at one Sonoma church.
Wednesday, April 17, 11:30 a.m.
Outside St. Francis Solano Catholic church, 469 3rd St W. in Sonoma (where at least three publicly accused predator priests worked)
A Sacramento attorney who represents the two accusers and a Missouri man who was assaulted by a priest and is the former long time head of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Two northern California men have filed reports with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office saying they were repeatedly molested as kids by a Catholic priest who headed a group home for at-risk teens. One did so just last week.
In 2013, Fr. John S. Crews, the executive director of Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma resigned his post after being accused of sexually abusing a boy in the 1970s, before he came to the group home. Two months ago, his name was included on a publicly-released list of clergy facing accusations of child sexual abuse by his supervisors in the Santa Rosa Catholic diocese.
The two alleged victims, identified only as John VL Doe and David Doe, are encouraging others hurt by Fr. Crews to contact law enforcement at ClergyAbuse@doj.ca.gov.
Santa Rosa diocesan officials have falsely and publicly claimed that Fr. Crews never molested children at the center. The two men want Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa to withdraw and correct this claim.
They’ll also plead with Vasa to reverse his course and, for the safety of kids and the healing of victim, to disclose names of ALL credibly accused current and former church staff, especially perpetrators from Hanna Boys Center.
“The Hanna Boys Center and the Santa Rosa diocese refused to protect the vulnerable, at-risk kids for whom they were responsible,” says Joseph C. George, Ph.D. attorney for John VL Doe and David Doe.
Before being sent to the center, Fr. Crews worked at St. Sebastian's parish in Sebastopol and St. Joseph's parish in Cotati. He was ordained in 1971 and reportedly retired in 2013.
2) SNAP will blast Vasa for “hair-splitting” for refusing to include on his ‘accused’ list
--two bishops who spent time in Santa Rosa and are credibly accused of abuse, and
--any accused priests who worked at Hannah “since that agency has its own HR, Screening and Reporting Protocols.”
Vasa’s “arbitrary and self-serving” decisions, SNAP says, “deceive the parishioners and the public and minimize the horror of abuse and cover-up.” The Press Democrat reports that Hanna “is associated with the Santa Rosa diocese.” Bishop Vasa is listed on the center’s website as “a special board member.”
The two “omitted” accused clerics are Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul MN and Bishop G. Patrick Zieman of Santa Rosa.
Zieman resigned in 1999 after a priest sued him over a sexually exploitive relationship. In a 2002 lawsuit, he was accused of molesting a child for several years. Zieman is on the Los Angeles archdiocese’s list of abusive clergy as an alleged abuser of three kids there between 1967-1986. He was Santa Rosa’s bishop from 1992-999.
Nienstedt was accused in 2013 of touching a boy's buttocks and in 2018 of having invited two boys to a hotel room to change out of wet clothes (back in 2005). An internal church investigation of his alleged sexual misconduct with adults reportedly found "sexual advances" by Nienstedt toward two priests. He resigned in 2015 soon after his archdiocese was criminally charged for contributing to child sex abuse. In 2016, he worked at the Napa Institute.
Dr. Joseph C. George, attorney for Plaintiff (916) 802-7949 cell, (916) 641 7300 office, and David Clohessy, former executive director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314) 566 9790