From an email received on 8.10.2011
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Accused predator priest still works at church and school
New lawsuit says three California dioceses hid his crimes
Church officials knew about predatory behavior for 40 years, suit charges
More than a dozen others have reported his inappropriate actions around kids
Holding signs and photos of themselves at the age they were abused, child sex abuse victims and their supporters will announce a new sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit which charges that a Catholic priest:
- sexually abused a boy in 2001,
- is currently working at a parish and school, and
- at least 14 witnesses have come forward to testify to the priest’s misconduct.
The civil suit also alleges that:
- church staff in three different dioceses knew of the priest’s sexual misconduct as far back as the 1960s, and
- church staff quietly transferred the priest to an unsuspecting parish after a police investigation.
Outside of St. Paul Catholic Parish and School, 221 Valley Street (at Church Street) in San Francisco CA
Wednesday, August 10, 11:15 a.m.
2-3 survivors of sexual abuse and their supporters who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious organizations.
Yesterday, victims’ attorneys filed a sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit that alleges that a San Francisco priest, Fr. Don Flickinger, sexually abused a young boy in San Jose in 2001. The lawsuit also alleges that church officials knew about Flickinger’s predatory behaviors for more than 40 years and did little or nothing to protect kids.
The victim in this case, now 23, says that Fr. Flickinger sexually abused him in Flickinger’s room when the boy was 13. The boy went to the police to report the abuse. When contacted by the victim via a “police sting call,” the cleric was completely aware of the investigation and did not incriminate himself. The priest was then transferred from the San Jose Diocese to St. Paul’s church in San Francisco, where parishioners have no idea about the priest’s potential threat to kids.
The victim, like many victims of child sexual abuse, has suffered severe emotional and psychological damage. In 2009, he pled no contest to a misdemeanor count of possession of child pornography. He downloaded the images while still a teen and soon after the alleged abuse.
According to the lawsuit, allegations of Fr. Flickinger’s misconduct begin in 1968, soon after he was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Fresno. Flickinger has been accused by other witnesses of sexual abuse, intimidating and threatening children who reported him, and using the confessional to ask boys inappropriate questions about sex and masturbation. When a boy inadvertently reported Flickinger’s behavior to Archdiocese of San Francisco church officials in 1972, Flickinger came to the boy and threatened him into signing a document stating that the boy would be criminally prosecuted if he didn’t sign.
Flickinger’s predatory behavior continued when he was sent to the Diocese of San Jose, where others – including parents – noted the cleric’s dangerous and inappropriate relationships with young boys over the next 35 years. At least one parent reported Flickinger’s behavior to a San Jose diocese official in 2009, who confirmed that her own son thought the priest was “creepy.”
Since the 1968 allegations and the current victim’s reporting to law enforcement, diocese officials in Fresno, San Jose and San Francisco have done nothing to warn parishioners, police, or the public of the danger.
Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are hoping to reach out to other potential victims and alert parents at the parish and school of the serious public safety danger at the parish.
The victim is represented by attorney Tim Hale of Santa Barbara (805) 963-2345
Tim Lennon, SNAP San Francisco Leader, 415-312-5820, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director, 949-322-7434, email@example.com
Barb Dorris, of St Louis, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-503-0003, firstname.lastname@example.org