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  Home :: 2007 September :: Woman files suit against Oakland diocese 
Woman files suit against Oakland diocese
Plaintiff, 42, says she was tied up, given wine and molested in the early 1970s
OAKLAND — TheArchdiocese of San Francisco, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland anda Catholic parish in Fremont are all being sued by a 42-year-old womanwho said she was a victim of molestation in the early 1970s.

The lawsuit, filed July 26 by San Diego-based law firm Zalkin andZimmer, claims the woman was molested by the Rev. Stephen Kiesle whilehe was a seminarian working at a Catholic church in Fremont.

The lawsuit claims Kiesle molested the woman at least threetimes in 1971 or 1972 when she was 6 or 7 in the church sacristy andparish rectory.

The abuse included Kiesle's tying the girl's hands, makingher drink wine and forcing her to strip, the lawsuit states. After thatKiesle inappropriately touched her, the suit claims.

"She suffered severe damages as a result of what happened toher, there was extensive damage done to her as aresult of theseactions," said Devin Storey, an attorney working on the case. "There isno question (Kiesle) did these things."

Kiesle is currently serving a six-year sentence in stateprison for molesting a young girl at his Truckee vacation home. He alsowas convicted in 1978 of molesting two boys while working at Our Ladyof the Rosary in earlier years.

The latest suit comes after the Oakland diocese agreed in2005 to pay a $56.4 million settlement with 56 childhood sexual abusevictims in unrelated cases.

In the recent case, the woman had not claimed abuse earlier because she had repressed memories, the lawsuit states.

"While plaintiff has clear memories of this first instance ofabuse, plaintiff has only begun to recover hazy memories of theadditional incidents of molestation at the hands of Father Kiesle andbelieves that the abuse was far more extensive," the suit states.

Memories of the abuse "came flooding back to plaintiff" aftershe watched the theatrical trailer for the documentary "Deliver Us FromEvil," which centers on clergy sexual abuse.

"She was kind of going along in her life, and she had noindication that this happened to her," Storey said. "Then, it came backto her in an instant."

The woman contacted the diocese after remembering the abuseand was analyzed by a diocese psychologist who found that "there was noquestion about (her) veracity."

The psychologist also said the woman's later trouble withsexual abuse and rape resulted directly from abuse at Kiesle's hands,the lawsuit states.

At age 8 she was beaten and forced into oral copulation by an older boy in her neighborhood. Six years later she was raped.

"A girl who is assaulted once is more likely to be assaultedagain by a different offender than a girl who was never assaulted," thepsychologist wrote in a report, the lawsuit states.

Although the woman went to the diocese for help, Storey said she was not pleased with the outcome.

The Rev. Mark Wiesner, spokesman for the Oakland diocese, declined comment because the diocese has not seen the lawsuit.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco could not be reached for comment.

Contact Paul Rosynsky at or 510-208-6455.


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia