He speaks for the first time about his abuse by Father John Crews
And warns others about new church pay out program
Victim applauds the the facility’s staff overhaul
SNAP: “But culture must change, not just personnel”
Group highlights second accused cleric at Hanna Boys Center
Man assaulted by second accused cleric files report with Attorney General’s Office
Holding signs and childhood photos at a news conference, a victim of abuse at Hanna Boys Center will
— disclose his suffering at the Catholic institution,
— discuss his recent report to the California attorney general,
— and warn others to be skeptical about the new in-house diocesan victim pay-out program, and
—call on “anyone with information or suspicions” about “crimes of cover ups” at the boys’ home to contact “independent sources of support” like law enforcement and self-help groups for “prevention and healing.”
His attorney and a victims’ advocate will also urge Santa Rosa’s bishop to
—aggressively seek out — via letters, church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements— other kids who were sexually violated at the boys’ home.
And they’ll draw attention to another accused cleric who worked at the home, Brother Joseph Gutierrez. Man assaulted by Brother Joseph Gutierrez files report with Attorney General’s office.
Tuesday, May 21, at 3:00 p.m.
Outside St. Francis Solano Catholic Church, 469 3rd Street W. In Sonoma
(Where at least three publicly accused predator priests worked)
A Boys’ Home victim who is speaking publicly for the first time, a Sacramento attorney who represents him and a Missouri man who was sexually assaulted by a priest and is the former long time head of a support group call SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Michael Holden, now 43 years old, was sexually abused by Father John Crews while he was a minor resident at Hanna Boys Center.
From approximately 1991-1994, Father John Crews sexually abused Michael, and took photographs of the sexual abuse. Father Crews’ sexual abuse of Michael escalated over time. Michael was only 16 years old when Father Crews’ sexual abuse began.
Now he is speaking out for the first time, “You are not alone.” He is also urging other victims to come forward to law enforcement and file a report with the Attorney General’s office. He is also cautioning survivors to be wary of trusting church officials, especially with the just-announced in-house diocesan pay-out program.
Last week, six California dioceses announced a new victim compensation program for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. The Santa Rosa diocese is not one of the six dioceses participating in this new program. Instead, the Santa Rosa Diocese announced its own in-house pay-out program.
Last month, SNAP revealed 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.
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. Four 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 victims, identified only as John VL Doe and David Doe, encouraged others hurt by Fr. Crews to contact law enforcement at ClergyAbuse@doj.ca.gov.
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) The attorney and advocate will call on Santa Rosa church officials to disclose more about what the diocese calls “recent” allegations against Brother Joseph Gutierrez (a.k.a. Jesse Gutierrez-Cerventes) a former Boys Home counselor who was dismissed from that position in 1986, a year after he left his religious order. It’s especially important, the two say, that church staff reveals how much time elapsed between the time the abuse report was made and the time it was made public. They also want to know if the alleged crimes happened at the Boys Home.
In 2003, Gutierrez was accused in a civil suit of abusing a youngster at De La Salle High School. In 2004, one of Gutierrez’ accusers received a four million dollar settlement. In the 2000s, Gutierrez worked in Sonoma as a consultant.
3) Advocate will also discuss the first-ever world-wide Catholic church abuse policy, announced earlier this month by Pope Francis.
4) Last month, SNAP disclosed/discussed three publicly accused clerics who worked at St. Francis Solano: Fr. Anthony “Tony” Bloge (1970), Fr. Daniel Polizzi (1970) and Fr. Xavier Ochoa (1987-1989 and again from 2000-2006).
Contact: Dr. Joseph C. George 916 802 7949 cell, 916 641 7300 office, firstname.lastname@example.org email, and David Clohessy, Former executive director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests 314 566 9790 cell, email@example.com email.
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 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.
THREE PUBLICLY ACCUSED PREDATOR PRIESTS WHO WORKED IN SONOMA
--Fr. Anthony “Tony” Bolger, who abused in Hawaii where he allegedly molested at least two boys in Kailua. (One was David Figueroa, now deceased.) Fr. Bolger disappeared in California for a year in 1988 and resurfaced at St. Anthony’s in 1989. Over the next ten years, multiple allegations of abuse were made against him but he was sent to treatment and repeatedly put back in Hawaii parishes with no apparent restrictions and more access to children. In 2002, he was allowed to resign for “medical reasons” and was provided retirement benefits by the Honolulu diocese. Fr. Bolger is believed to have moved to Mexico before his death in 2015.
He worked in at least four California towns: Sonoma, Arcata, Napa and Point Arena.
--Fr. Daniel Polizzi worked for 25 years in California and, briefly, in Hawaii before being accused of sexual abuse while working at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego. He was suspended from ministry after being accused. Fr. Polizzi was accused of sexually abusing a 16-year old boy who had been on a ventilator for several years and was only able to communicate by using his eyes, which he did in order to alert a nurse he was being sexually abused. Fr. Polizzi was included in the San Diego diocese’s list of priests who has faced ‘credible allegations involving sexual abuse of a minor.’
He worked in at least five California towns: Sonoma, Ontario, LaJolla, Colton and several locations in and around San Diego.
--Fr. Xavier Ochoa, who was ordained for the Jesuits in Mexico in 1969. A native of Guadalajara, in 1988 he began working in the Santa Rosa diocese. Fr. Ochoa was placed on leave in 2006 after admitting a recent incident of abuse involving a 12-year-old boy. He admitted to then-Bishop Daniel Walsh that he had a “history” of "a problem with a boy" in Mexico. (Investigators later learned that the boy had been violently raped by Ochoa when he was 15 and that his parents allowed Ochoa to live with him in the U.S.) Walsh didn't report Fr. Ochoa's abuse admission of abuse to law enforcement for three days; by then Fr. Ochoa had fled to Mexico. Civil suits were filed in October 2006 by seven accusers in 2007 and ten of them settled with the diocese for over $5 million. A federal arrest warrant was issued against him in 2008. Fr. Ochoa died a fugitive 2009 in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.
He worked in at least five California towns: Sonoma, Imola, Napa, Windsor, and Santa Rosa.
Polizzi was at Saint Francis Solano in 1970, Bolger was at the parish in 1977 and Ochoa was there from 1987-1989 and again from 2000-2006.