Diocese of Oakland Assigns Sex Offender as Pastor and Accused Sex Offender to Ministry

Received via email from Joey Piscitelli, 2.29.2008.

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Diocese of Oakland’s New Policy

Bishop Vigneron of the Diocese of Oakland, California, will go on record as establishing a new low for the Catholic Church in the US. Once a month in 2008, he promotes an accused sex offender in his Diocese. And you thought the Catholic Church was improving.

So far in 2008, he has placed sex offender Fr. Padraig Greene as pastor in Pleasanton, and accused sex offender Fr. Chris Berbena in ministry in Walnut Creek. Fr. Greene was previously arrested for lewd conduct and sent to 6 months of sex therapy a few years ago. Bishop Vigneron rewarded this sex offender by promoting him to pastor of both Catholic Churches in the city of Pleasanton in January 2008.

Fr. Chris Berbena was named in a multimillion dollar sex abuse case a short while ago, and the victims were paid a large settlement. Bishop Vigneron rewarded Fr. Berbena by placing him in ministry at St. John’s in Walnut Creek. Bishop Vigneron said that his own “independent review board” did not find any evidence against Fr. Berbena. Of course not. They never do.

The Catholic Bishops of the Bay Area deceive parishioners and the public into thinking that their “independent review boards” are neutral parties doing unbiased investigations into claims of sex abuse by priests. The fact is that the handpicked review board will always clear priests accused of sex abuse, unless there is a conviction by a court.

Ninety-five (95) % of Catholic molester priests beat conviction because of the statute of limitations on child abuse. This technicality does not make them innocent, and they know this, despite their gloating.

Take it from me. The Diocese stated publicly that the independent review board in my own case against a Catholic priest found “no credible evidence” against Fr. Whelan, who molested me as a child. They made Fr. Whelan pastor of St. Peter and Paul’s, and publicly called me a liar.

A year after the Diocese claimed that the review board found Fr. Whelan credible, the head of the review board, Jim Jenkins, resigned and said they never did a review in my case at all. (See article in San Francisco Weekly). Then, in 2006, I won my court case against Fr. Whelan, and the jury found him guilty.

The so called “Independent Review Board” claim that there was no “substantiated evidence” against Fr. Whelan was proven to be a total sham, and the deceitful Church hierarchy never apologized.

Bishop Vigneron’s deceitful manipulation of the parishioners and community should not be underestimated. Pulling the wool over the eyes of the faithful with his “review board” findings is despicable. And his new policy for 2008 of promoting an accused sex offender once a month is a disgrace to the Catholics who pay millions of dollars of hard earned money to support his tragic behavior.

No, the Catholic Church in the Bay Area has not improved. It’s become insane.

Joey Piscitelli

SNAP Northern California



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